Weeks before his horrific murder on camera, Udaipur tailor Kanhaiya Lal had complained about death threats over a social media post in support of BJP leader Nupur Sharma, whose comment on Prophet Muhammad had triggered protests in India and condemnation from Gulf countries.
Kanhaiya Lal was arrested on June 11 after a complaint against him over the post. Five days after he was released on bail, he told the police that he was being threatened and harassed by his neighbours.
The police mediated sessions between the tailor and the neighbours who had allegedly threatened him, along with senior community leaders from both sides, and the matter was considered resolved.
Kanhaiya Lal gave a written statement to the police that no more action is needed. Then the threats started again.
The police inspector who received Kanhaiya’s complaint and oversaw the mediation has been suspended. The police are questioning the community leaders who stepped in to broker peace at the time.
“All parties and community leaders were called to the police station and the matter was resolved,” said senior police officer Hawa Singh Ghumariya.
“The police will investigate others involved as well. We are investigating the role of the community leaders who tried to broker peace,” he added.
Kanhaiya Lal, 48, was killed on Tuesday afternoon in his shop by two men, Gos Mohammad and Riyaz Akhtari, who filmed the crime and gloated about it in a video, also threatening Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The two were arrested when they were trying to escape on a bike, their faces covered by helmets.
The Centre has handed the case to the anti-terror National Investigating Agency, treating the murder as a terror attack.
Kanjaiya Lal, a father of two sons, had been avoiding going to this shop because of the threats, his wife said. He had gone to his shop yesterday after a week.
Gos Mohammad and Riyaz Akhtari entered Kanhaiya Lal’s shop posing as customers. A video shot by them shows the tailor measuring one of the men, who suddenly attacks him with a cleaver. The police said they tried to behead the tailor but couldn’t.
Protests broke out yesterday over the killing, after which the state government ordered curfew in parts of Rajasthan and shut down internet and large gatherings for a month.