After Udaipur horror, now Amravati chemist stabbed to death for alleged social media post supporting Nupur Sharma

Umesh Prahladrao Kolhe was killed on June 21, a week before two men hacked a tailor, Kanhaiya Lal, to death in Rajasthan. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) will probe the Maharashtra case after directives from the Union home ministry, based on a plea by BJP MP Anil Bonde.

Sanjay JogUpdated: Sunday, July 03, 2022, 12:03 AM IST
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Before the murder of a tailor in Udaipur, Rajasthan, earlier this week, a 54-year-old chemist was reportedly stabbed to death in Amravati, Maharashtra, for his social media post in support of the BJP’s suspended spokesperson, Nupur Sharma.

Umesh Prahladrao Kolhe was killed on June 21, a week before two men hacked a tailor, Kanhaiya Lal, to death in Rajasthan. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) will probe the Maharashtra case after directives from the Union home ministry, based on a plea by BJP MP Anil Bonde.

“The conspiracy behind the killing, the involvement of organisations and international linkages will be thoroughly investigated,” the Union home ministry said. Sources said that since this murder had been committed for exactly the same reasons as the one in Udaipur, the NIA will investigate whether the same network had instigated both the groups to launch attacks and if this case too has any links with Pakistan.

An NIA team will soon reach Amravati and collect inputs from the Amravati city police. Kolhe’s death has pitted the BJP and Congress against each other.

“Amravati Police spent additional time to confirm this perspective of hatred. I went to the police commissioner and presented a screenshot of his post. In Amravati, more than 10 people, including some physicians, received threats to withdraw their support for Nupur Sharma,” claimed Bonde. He alleged that Kolhe was killed to “take revenge and set an example”.

The Amravati police said that they had received the letter from BJP leaders and were investigating the matter. An FIR has been lodged and six people have been arrested in connection with the case. All six accused have been sent to police custody till August 4.

Former minister Yashomati Thakur said the city police had countered Bonde’s charge saying, “The police had investigated Kolhe’s death. They said that the accused and the killer had business links and the entire case had been traced by them. We should take note of the sentiments expressed by the honourable Supreme Court on such incidents on Friday. The NIA should thoroughly investigate this incident. I appeal to the people of Amravati and the state to keep the peace, not believe in rumours.”

According to police, they have seized the murder weapon-a knife, mobile phones, vehicle and clothes used for the crime, and also obtained CCTV footage from the scene of the crime. “We have sent the seized electronic devices to the DFSL, and scrutiny of technical evidence is in progress. The bank accounts of all the arrested accused and their family members were obtained and scrutiny is underway,” they said.

7 arrests thus far

The police had also seized the knife used in the crime and obtained the CCTV footage of the sequence of events.

Prima facie the investigation has revealed that the crime was linked to a social media post of the deceased chemist who had voiced support for the former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, the officer added.

The Kotwali police in Amravati had registered an FIR based on the complaint of Umesh's son Sanket. As per Sanket's complaint, the incident took place between 10 pm and 10:30 pm on June 21. After closing their medical shop, Sanket and his wife and Umesh had left together on their respective motorcycles.

While passing through Prabhat Chowk, they saw a person on a motorcycle with two persons standing near him. The suspects had a knife and they intercepted Umesh's bike. One of the accused attacked Umesh in the throat who started bleeding profusely and then fell on the road, the police said.

Sanket cried for help, after which all the accused fled on their motorcycle towards the direction of a bank and escaped.
Sanket, with the help of those who had gathered on the spot, rushed Umesh to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead during treatment.

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