Security tightened in Indian city after Hindu man’s beheading over Prophet row

Police official in Rajasthan says video of murder ‘too grisly to watch’

Al-Qaeda threatens attacks in India over ruling party's former spokesperson's insult to Prophet

A Hindu tailor was beheaded in India’s western Udaipur city by two cleaver-wielding Muslim men in a religious killing that has sparked communal tension in surrounding areas.

The murder occurred on Tuesday and comes as the country faces a surging wave of religious polarisation.

Mobile internet services were suspended across the Rajasthan state for 24 hours, a curfew was imposed for a month in several areas to clamp down on gatherings, and an additional 600 police officials were deployed in anticipation of violent clashes.

The victim, a man named Kanhaiya Lal, was stabbed multiple times by the two men who then allegedly beheaded him in his shop.

The two suspects, identified as Gaus Mohammed and Riyaz Akhtari, were arrested on Tuesday evening by police.

The two men filmed the chilling video of the murder and later claimed responsibility for killing him in a second video.

Brandishing their cleavers, the two men were seen on video gloating about killing Lal and issued threats to kill Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. They claimed to have killed the man in retaliation for his alleged support of controversial remarks made by Mr Modi’s ruling party spokespeople against prophet Muhammad.

On Wednesday, federal home minister Amit Shah directed the country’s anti-terrorism agency, National Investigation Agency (NIA), to take over investigation and thoroughly probe the “involvement of any organisation and international links”.

Police stand guard as people gather on road as tensions rise after the killing of a Hindu man in Udaipur, Rajasthan

The victim had allegedly shared a social media post supporting BJP’s spokesperson Nupur Sharma, who made inflammatory remarks in June that insulted the prophet and his wife Aisha.

Ms Sharma was suspended by the ruling party but her remarks triggered one of the worst diplomatic backlashes faced by India from dozens of Muslim-majority nations.

Ms Sharma’s remarks were made during a debate on a right-wing TV channel and had triggered violent protests in some Indian states, leading to at least two deaths and several injuries amid clashes between demonstrators and police.

A police official in Rajasthan said the video of the murder was “too grisly to watch” and urged news channels to not run the clip.

Police try to control a crowd shouting slogans during a protest soon after the beheading

Describing it as a “sad and shameful incident”, the state’s chief minister Ashok Gehlot said the atmosphere in the country and the state was tense.

“Why don’t PM and Amit Shah ji address the nation? There is tension among people. PM should address the public and say that such violence won’t be tolerated and appeal for peace,” said Mr Gehlot, who is a member of the opposition Congress party.

He told reporters that his government was “taking the incident very seriously”. “This is not a ordinary issue and it cannot happen until there is a link with radical elements at the national and international levels.”

The victim had sought police protection and claimed to have received death threats, reported the Indian Express. He was arrested and released a day later on a complaint against him for allegedly hurting religious feelings, just three weeks before his death.

“[He] was arrested on June 10 and released on bail by the court the next day,” Hawa Singh Ghumaria, a top police official, told the newspaper.

“Then, on June 15, he submitted a written complaint that he is getting death threats and sought police protection. The concerned SHO called the persons who were allegedly giving the threats,” he added.

The attack which has been called a “Taliban-style killing” and has sparked fear and outrage.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said: “I am deeply shocked by the heinous murder in Udaipur. Brutalism in the name of religion cannot be tolerated... We all have to defeat hate together.”

“I condemn the gruesome murder in Udaipur Rajasthan. There can be no justification for it. Our party’s consistent stand is to oppose such violence,” said Asaduddin Owaisi, a prominent lawmaker.

“I strongly condemn what happened in Udaipur. As law takes its own course of action, I urge everyone to maintain peace,” said Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of West Bengal.

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