Caught on camera: Amravati killers murdered chemist in 2nd attempt
After the barbaric murder of Umesh Prahladrao Kolhe, a chemist, in Maharashtra's Amravati on June 21, CCTV footage showing him surrounded by his killers and then collapsing after being attacked has now emerged. Kohle was allegedly killed over a social media post supporting former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma's remarks. Notably, the killers attempted to murder Kohle on June 20 as well.
- A week after Kohle's murder, tailor Kanhaiya Lal was slashed to death in Udaipur.
- To recall, during a TV channel debate on the Gyanvapi Mosque issue, the BJP's now-suspended spokesperson Sharma made offensive statements regarding Prophet Muhammad and his wife.
- Her comments triggered outrage and retaliation from several religious organizations, political parties, and Gulf nations, prompting the BJP to suspend her.
Kohle's son Sanket (27) earlier said he and his wife Vaishnavi were accompanying his father on another scooter. "We were moving from Prabhat Chowk...our scooters had reached the Mahila College New High School's gate when the men attacked. My father fell and was bleeding," Sanket stated. Kolhe was transported to the nearby Axon Hospital with the assistance of bystanders where he died during treatment.
"During the investigation, we learned that Kolhe had circulated a social media post supporting Nupur Sharma on WhatsApp," officials earlier told The Indian Express. "By mistake, he posted the message on a group with Muslim members who were also his customers. One of the arrested accused said this was an insult to the Prophet and hence he must die," they said.
Meanwhile, Sanket had also told The Indian Express that his father would never speak ill about anyone nor was he associated with any political party. "I also heard that he was murdered over his social media post, but I checked his Facebook profile and did not find anything objectionable. Only the police can tell what the motive was," he said.
Kohle was reportedly part of a WhatsApp group called "Black Freedom," which has both Hindus and Muslims as members. His comments on Sharma on "Black Freedom" were allegedly shared by his friend and customer Yousuf Khan, a veterinary doctor, to other groups, including "Kalim Ibrahim."
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday took over custody of all the seven accused—Muddasar Ahmad, Shahrukh Pathan, Abdul Taufiq, Shoaib Khan, Atib Rashid, Yusuf Khan, and alleged mastermind Shaikh Irfan Shaikh Rahim—in Kohle's murder case. The accused are likely to be produced before the NIA's Mumbai court on or before Friday. The police are on the lookout for one more suspect Shamim Ahmed.
Lal, a tailor, was beheaded on June 28 in the Maldas Street area of Rajasthan's Udaipur, days after he allegedly supported Sharma's remarks. The accused Riyaz Akhtari and Ghouse Mohammad, who claimed to have murdered Lal in a video message after the incident, even issued a threat to PM Narendra Modi. The horrific murder prompted the Centre to treat it as a terror attack.