Umesh Kolhe's Murder In Amravati A "Terrorist Act"; NIA Begins Probe

by Nishtha Anushree - Jul 3, 2022 11:03 AM +05:30 IST
Umesh Kolhe's Murder In Amravati A "Terrorist Act"; NIA Begins ProbeUmesh Kolhe Murder/Lokmat

After Amit Shah ordered the NIA to probe the Amravati killing on 2 July, the investigation agency filed an FIR late at night.

The FIR: It calls the "cold-blooded murder of deceased Umesh Kolhe an act of larger conspiracy of a group of accused persons and others who have conspired among themselves to strike terror amongst a section of people of India."

  • The FIR says that the motive of the "terrorist act" committed on 21 June between 10 pm and 10.30 pm was "to promote enmity on the grounds of religion."

  • The FIR has listed Mudassir Ahmed, Shahrukh Pathan, Abdul Thoufik, Shoaib Khan, Atib Rashid, Yusuf Khan, Shahim Ahmed, and Irfan Khan as accused along with unknown others.

What Amravati Police did: While the case is of ISIS-style killing and similar to the Udaipur horror, Amravati police registered it as a case of murder with robbery as a motive.

  • The NIA FIR makes it clear that nothing was stolen from the victim.

  • This poses serious questions about the police in the state, then under the MVA government headed by Uddhav Thackeray.

  • The state police DGP also did not send any report to the centre about the incident despite being asked and instead waited for the NIA to take up the case.

The case: Fifty-four-year-old pharmacist Kolhe was hacked to death by three bike-riding Islamists.

  • Kolhe was returning home on a scooter. His vehicle was stopped and one of the accused stabbed him on the left side of his neck.

  • Allegedly, this is an Islamic punishment meted out to him for circulating a social media post supporting Nupur Sharma on WhatsApp.

  • A case under Sections 16, 18, and 20 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and Sections 34, 153 (A), 153 (B), 120 (B), and 302 IPC has been filed based on a complaint by the victim’s son.

The accused: A total of seven arrests have been made until now. Irfan Khan is the alleged mastermind who convenes a registered NGO that runs a helpline called "Rahebar."

  • At least four of the five arrested earlier were Irfan’s friends and volunteered with his the NGO. The organisation's banking transactions are also being checked.

  • Irfan is alleged to have planned the killing, assigned specific tasks to the suspects, and provided logistical support like the vehicle and cash.

  • The other arrest made on 2 July was of a veterinary doctor, Yusuf, who is alleged to have acted as the "instigator."

  • He had put up a post on a WhatsApp group against Kolhe, (saying) that he (Kolhe) was circulating posts supporting Nupur Sharma.

How Kolhe was spotted: Kolhe had also put up the post supporting Nupur Sharma on a WhatsApp group that had Muslim members. They were his customers. This is how the post would have reached the veterinary doctor Yusuf through common circles, who then instigated the others.

Bottom line: The NIA will probe the conspiracy behind the killing, involvement of organisations, and international linkages.

Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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