Amravati man's murderers are radicalized Islamists of Tablighi Jamaat: NIA
Probing the Amravati pharmacist's June murder, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), in its chargesheet, said the 11 accused in the case were "radicalized Islamists of Tablighi Jamaat." It says the accused killed the victim, Umesh Kolhe, to avenge the alleged blasphemy against Prophet Mohammed. The prime counter-terrorism task force termed it an act of terror, which the accused wanted to make an example of.
Why does this story matter?
- Umesh Kolhe (54) reportedly shared a social media post supporting former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, who made incendiary statements regarding Prophet Muhammad and his wife during a TV channel debate over the Gyanvapi Mosque issue.
- He was stabbed to death in Maharashtra's Amravati on June 21. A week later, tailor Kanhaiyalal Teli was also murdered in Udaipur, Rajasthan, allegedly over the same issue.
NIA submitted chargesheet before special court last week
The NIA filed the chargesheet in a special court on Friday. It stated the 11 accused were followers of Tablighi Jamaat, a transnational Deobandi Islamic missionary movement, which urges Muslims to lead a life similar to how followers did during the time of Prophet Muhammad. Incidentally, several publications blamed the Jamaat for causing the COVID-19 explosion in Delhi in March 2020 by violating guidelines.
Not simple murder but well-planned act of terror: NIA
The NIA asserted that Kolhe's killing wasn't a simple case of murder but a well-planned terror act. It said the brutal murder of the man in front of his son in public and the subsequent celebration was intended to strike terror in the minds of the general population, "who would never dare to speak up, for what they think is right or wrong."
'Mastermind' wasn't content with police's action against Nupur Sharma: NIA
The NIA claimed that the prime accused, Irfan Khan, was a strict follower of the Jamaat's rules. It said that with the help of the Jamaat's supporters, he became the president of an NGO—Rahebar Helpline—formed during the COVID-19 lockdown and provided ambulances to the needy. Around 10 days before Kolhe's murder, he also approached the police to lodge a case against Sharma, it said.
MHA transferred the case to NIA
After all the accused were arrested, the Ministry of Home Affairs handed over the case from the Maharashtra Police to the NIA in July. The accused were charged under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 153A (promoting enmity), 201 (disappearance of evidence), 302 (murder), 341 (wrongful restraint), and 506 (criminal intimidation), as well as provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).