A veterinary doctor Yusuf Khan who is currently in custody in connection with the murder of Amravati pharmacist Umesh Kolhe has sought bail before a special court.
The doctor pointed out that he does not belong to the Tablighi Jamaat, as claimed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) when he and 10 others were charged for conspiring and murdering the chemist to create terror in the supporters of then BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma who had made derogatory remarks against the Muslim Prophet.
Part of a WhatsApp group ‘Black Freedom’
The 45-year-old resident of Amravati was arrested on July 1 last year and is presently lodged in Arthur Road jail. The agency alleges that he was part of a WhatsApp group ‘Black Freedom’ in which Kolhe had forwarded a message in support of Sharma after her remarks. Khan had allegedly spread the message with his own accompanying message and instigated his co-accused against Kolhe.
Khan said in his plea that contrary to the agency’s claims, he is a staunch Sunni Muslim, a sect that follows the Barelvi school of thought, and does not follow the Tablighi sect, which is of a different school of thought. He said his sect is “ideologically opposed” to that of the Tablighi community. The Tablighis, he pointed out, do not visit the graves of Sufi saints as it is forbidden for them. Khan said he has visited such shrines across the country. To support his claims, he also attached pictures of him at shrines in Amravati, Nagpur and Rajasthan.
The doctor further said that he had gone to the funeral of Kolhe as he was shocked by the chemist’s death. Regarding his accompanying message, while forwarding Kolhe’s post, he said that it was at most a call for an economic boycott of Kolhe by cattle owners (as Kolhe dealt with veterinary medicine) and does not amount to an intention to kill.
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