The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which had earlier alleged that the 11 persons arrested in connection with the murder of Amravati chemist Umesh Kolhe (54) on June 6, 2022 belonged to the Tabligh e Jamaat, now only describes them as ``radicalised has apparently made a U-turn in the case of Amravati chemist Umesh Kolhe’s murder that the accused are radicalised youths belonging to Islam. In its response to the bail application of one of the accused Dr Yusuf Khan, the Agency has dropped the name of the Tabligh. It further stated that mention about the allegiance of the accused to the Tabligh was as per their own disclosures during their interrogation.
Dr. Yusuf Khan, a veterenarian by profession, said he could not possibly be belonging to the Tabligh because he belonged to the Barelvi section of Sunni Muslims. The Tabligh is reportedly a Sunni wahabi outfit. Kolhe was killed when he was returning home after closing his store. Three bike-borne assailants had stabbed him in the neck. The chemist had made a whatsapp post expressing his support for then BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma who had made certain remarks against the Prophet to which several Muslims took objection. In its chargesheet filed last December against the 11 persons, the NIA had said its probe found radical Islamists of Tablighi Jamaat had brutally killed Kolhe to avenge the dishonour to the Prophet and strike terror in supporters of Sharma. It had also mentioned the religion of all 11 accused in the chargesheet as ‘Tablighi Jamaat’.
The veterinarian had said in his application that he does not belong to the Tabligh and the Barelvi section to which he belongs is sharply opposed to the Tabligh ideology. He said unlike Barelvis, Tablighis do not visit graves of Sufi saints as it is forbidden for them. He said he has visited several such shrines across the country and attached pictures of him at shrines in Amravati, Nagpur and Rajasthan to his bail application in support of his claim.
The NIA states in its response to his plea that the accused are “a group of radicalised individuals and the mention about their specific allegiances comes as part of their disclosures during investigation.” It does not anymore mention that the “terror act” was committed by radicalised members of Tablighi Jamaat community and instead uses terms such as “religiously radicalised Muslim youth”. Regarding Khan’s contention that he does not belong to Tablighi community, the agency has said that the ground raised by him cannot be a valid one for consideration of bail as, it states, “prosecution case does not pertain to the caste or religion followed by the present applicant accused” and that it is a case of a well-planned brutal murder and that he had played a pivotal role in it. It said he is making a poor and deliberate attempt to impress upon the court that he is a Sunni Muslim. “Rather if we read the prosecution case in toto, we find that it is a planned terrorist act carried out by certain individuals belonging to Islam (Muslim)...,” the NIA stated.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)