Internet cut after tailor's murder

Fearing outbreaks of religious violence, police in Rajasthan banned public gatherings and suspended Internet services on Wednesday, a day after two Muslims posted a video claiming responsibility for slaying a Hindu tailor in Udaipur.

Two suspects are being interrogated by federal investigators, while the state police are on guard against any unrest in the state.

"We are under strict orders to prevent any form of protests or demonstrations scheduled to condemn the murder," said Mr Hawa Singh Ghumaria, a senior police officer in Rajasthan, adding that the crime has sent "shockwaves throughout the country".

Tailor Kanhaiya Lal Teli was at his shop in Udaipur's crowded Maldas street on Tuesday when two men entered it in the afternoon.

Minutes later, they attacked him with a cleaver. The Taliban-style killing was filmed and the killers then gloated, also on camera, about how the tailor was murdered and they were avenging an insult to Islam. The videos were posted on social media.

Two men, identified as Riaz Akhtari and Ghouse Mohammad, were later arrested for the murder.

In a video clip, Akhtari declared that they had beheaded the man and went on to threaten Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying their knife would get him as well.

They also alluded to Ms Nupur Sharma, a former spokeswoman for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), whose remarks about the Prophet earlier this month triggered domestic and international outrage.

According to Mr Bhawarlal Thoda, a city administrator in Udaipur, the tailor had been detained over a social media post in support of the BJP spokeswoman that was traced to his mobile phone.

After he was released, he told police on June 15 that he was being threatened by a group.

"Terrorists executed my father in the most shocking way, the country must stand with our family to demand justice," Mr Kanhaiya'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 made any remarks that were offensive to other religions.

India's Home Minister Amit Shah said in a tweet that federal police had taken over the investigation into "the brutal murder".

"The involvement of any organisation and international links will be thoroughly investigated," he said.

Politicians and prominent Islamic preachers condemned the killing.

Ajmer Dargah Deewan (spiritual leader) Zainul Abedin Ali Khan said India's Muslims would never allow the Taliban mindset to surface in the country.

"No religion promotes violence against humanity, especially in the religion of Islam. All the teachings act as sources of peace," Mr Khan said.

"In the gruesome video that surfaced on the Internet, some non-ethical minds committed a brutal attack on a poor man - this is a punishable sin in the Islamic world."

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

Authorities said they have suspended Internet services in several parts of Rajasthan to prevent circulation of the videos.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the accused were arrested from Rajsamand, a city in Rajasthan, and investigations would be completed quickly.

"It is a very sad incident," he added.

"It is not a small incident, what has happened is beyond one's imagination. The culprits will not be spared."

Reuters, Indo-Asian News Service, AFP

"In the gruesome video that surfaced on the Internet, some non-ethical minds committed a brutal attack on a poor man - this is a punishable sin in the Islamic world."

- Mr Zainul Abedin Ali Khan, spiritual leader, Ajmer Dargah


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