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After the murder of a Hindu, police in northwest India ban public gatherings and suspend the Internet

After the murder of a Hindu, police in northwest India ban public gatherings and suspend the Internet
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MUMBAI, June 29 (Reuters) – Fearing outbreaks of religious violence, police in the Indian state of Rajasthan have banned public gatherings and suspended internet services a day after two Muslims posted a video claiming responsibility for the murder of a Hindu tailor in the city of Udaipur.

Two suspects were being questioned by federal investigators on Wednesday, while state police were on guard against any unrest in the northwestern state.

“We have strict orders to avoid any form of protest or demonstration scheduled to condemn the killing,” Hawa Singh Ghumaria, a senior police officer in Rajasthan, told Reuters, adding that the killing had caused “shockwaves across the country.” .

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Brandishing a butcher knife, two bearded men said in the video that they were avenging an insult to the Prophet Muhammad caused by the victim.

They also alluded to Nupur Sharma, a former spokeswoman for the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), whose comments about the Prophet earlier this month sparked national and international outrage.

India’s Home Minister Amit Shah said in a tweet that federal police had taken over the investigation into “the brutal murder” of Kanhaiya Lal Teli, giving the victim’s full name.

“The involvement of any organization and international links will be thoroughly investigated,” Shah said.

Two assailants cut Teli’s head and throat in an attack while the tailor took measurements, according to Bhawarlal Thoda, Udaipur’s city manager.

According to Thoda, the tailor was delayed by a social media post in support of the BJP spokeswoman that was traced to his mobile phone, and that after being released, Teli told police on June 15 that he was being threatened. for some group.

“The terrorists executed my father in the most shocking way, the country must support our family to demand justice,” the victim’s son, Yash, told Reuters after his father’s body was cremated on Wednesday.

He said the culprits should be tried and sentenced to death, and denied that his father had made comments that could be offensive to other religions.

Politicians and leading Islamic preachers condemned the killing.

“The incident has shocked the followers of Islam, the heinous act committed by two men is absolutely un-Islamic,” said Maulana Ahmed Siddiqui, a Muslim cleric based in Udaipur.

THREAT TO MODI

The authorities said they had suspended internet services in various parts of Rajasthan to prevent the circulation of the video shared by the accused.

“The mood is tense and almost all shops are closed today,” said Thoda. The city of around half a million people is one of the desert state’s top tourist attractions and is known for its luxurious hotels, including the famous Taj Lake Palace.

In another video clip posted online, one of the assailants also threatened Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying his sword would find him too.

India has a horrific history of religious violence, and thousands of people have been killed since the country gained independence from British colonial rule in 1947.

Modi’s pursuit of a “Hindu first” agenda since he came to power in 2014 has stoked tensions in a country where Muslims make up around 13% of its 1.4 billion people.

Earlier this month, the BJP suspended Sharma from the party and expelled another official, but the furor has not died down.

Prime Minister Modi has not commented on the incident in Udaipur. But former Rajasthan Prime Minister Vasundhara Raje, who belongs to the BJP, blamed the Congress Party, which now runs the state, for the “communal frenzy and violence” that have erupted there.

Raje said that “these kinds of acts can occur because the state government provides tacit support to criminals.”

While the Congress has upheld secular values ​​in India since independence, the BJP has cast it as a pro-Muslim party to alienate Hindus from its main opposition.

Rajasthan, with a population of around 69 million people, is just one of two Indian states where Congress has a majority in the state legislature and is due to hold elections next year.

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Information from Rupam Jain; Edited by Simon Cameron-Moore

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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