Five held in connection with assassination of Hindu leader Kamlesh Tiwari, 2 on the run
21 October 2019
A lesser-known jihadi outfit called the Al-Hind Brigade claimed responsibility for the assassination of Hindu Samaj Party president Kamlesh Tiwari, even as the ATS from Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh arrested five persons, including three fron Surat, in connection with the heinous crime.
The two others arrested were Muslim clerics from western UP's Bijnor district who had been named in a murder FIR filed by Kamlesh Tiwari's wife. Two other accused, those believed to have carried out the attack, are still on the run, the police said.
"We at Al-Hind Brigade claim the responsibility for killing Kamlesh Tiwari, who tried to defame Islam and Muslims. More to come," the outfit said in a WhatsApp message that was widely circulated late on Friday night.
While the authenticity of the claim could not immediately be verified, "All three who were arrested have confessed to the crime," reports quoted Gujarat ATS DIG Himanshu Shukla as saying.
UP Police DGP OP Singh also told media persons in Lucknow that the three arrested fron Surat have been identified as Maulana Sheikh (24), Faizan (21), and Rashid Ahmed Pathan (23). They are being interrogated, he added.
"Pathan was the mastermind of the conspiracy to murder Kamlesh as the former had made disparaging comments against Prophet in 2015," said Singh.
The message, which also carried a photograph Tiwari, said, "Kamlesh Tiwari was a nuisance and whosoever points fingers towards Islam and Muslims, will meet the same end. Al-Hind Brigade takes the responsibility. Get ready to see more. The war has begun."
Whether the outfit had links with any global terror organisation was not immediately known. The Hindu Samaj Party chief was found murdered at his home in the congested Naka Hindola area of the city.
Police, however, refused to confirm, saying that they are looking at all possibilities. "All angles are being looked into and explored. It would be too early to come to any conclusion," PTI quoted Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) PV Ramasastry as saying.
“We are working in collaboration with the Gujarat ATS and till now no link with any terrorist organisation has been established. We will look into all the details and take action,” he said.
"A unit of Lucknow police is also interrogating the trio. A sweet box recovered from crime spot was a vital clue in cracking the case," he added.
The DGP also said that Mohammed Mufti Naeem Qazmi and Imam Maulana Anuwarual Haq have been detained from UP's Bijnor.
Earlier, police recovered security footage from outside Kamlesh Tiwari's home. The footage showed two men and a woman carrying a bag containing a box of sweets that police believe hid weapons.
The suspects had claimed the sweets were a Diwali gift for Tiwari and were therefore allowed entry into the house, where they spent 36 minutes. Speaking on Friday, DGP OP Singh said this indicated the killers were known to Tiwari.
One of the men was wearing a saffron kurta and the other a red one, while the woman was wearing a red kurta and white dupatta.
Kamlesh Tiwari, who founded the Hindu Samaj Party in 2017, had been provided with armed security - two gunners - and a guard - by a local police station. On the day of his murder, the gunners were absent. Police say the guard stopped the suspects at the gate and only allowed them through after checking with Tiwari.
Kamlesh Tiwari, 43, was shot dead at his residence in the Naka Hindola neighbourhood of Lucknow on Friday afternoon. He had his throat cut and was shot multiple times, and died while being taken to a hospital.
His body was transported to his native place - Mahmudabad in Sitapur district of UP - on Friday night. Family members and supporters staged a protest outside the mortuary.
“Prima facie it appears that the killing was linked to Tiwari's remark on Prophet Muhammad in 2015, but nothing has been confirmed so far. The killers were probably radicalised after Tiwari made the controversial remark against Prophet,” said the DGP.