Lucknow: On Friday, October 18, former member of Hindu Mahasabha and a vocal Hindutva leader Kamlesh Tiwari was killed inside his house in the Naqa area of Lucknow by two saffron clad assailants, police have said.
According to Lucknow police, Kamlesh Tiwari was found in a pool of blood by his close associate Swatantradeep Singh who had been asked by the former to bring cigarettes for him. He was rushed to King George Medical University’s Trauma Centre but was declared brought dead by the doctors.
As per the doctors conducting the postmortem, Tiwari had a cut mark and a deeper wound on the left side of his neck. The postmortem report is yet to come and the doctors have refused to disclose if he was also shot by a bullet. They have instead said that the injury marks suggest a passionate murder not performed by professional killers. After the postmortem, the body was forcefully sent to Tiwari's native place in Mahmudabad of Sitapur district, amid growing protest by his supporters.
Tiwari’s wife has given an official complaint to the police in which she has named two clerics from Bijnor district who had raised a bounty worth Rs 1.5 crore for killing Kamlesh following his controversial statement regarding Prophet Mohammad. Following this, police have arrested Maulana Anwarul Haq from Bijnor. In 2015, he had announced a reward of Rs 51 lakh for beheading Kamlesh Tiwari.
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Lucknow’s Senior Superintendent of Police Kalanidhi Naithani told NewsClick, “Two people had come to visit Kamlesh Tiwari at his Naka residence. The three had a discussion at the first floor of his house and they were even served tea and snacks. After about half an hour Kamlesh was attacked.”
“Prima facie it seems to be an incident of personal enmity. But, we are not ruling out other angles in this case,” said the top cop, adding that 10 teams of police have been formed to nab the culprits and CCTV footage of the area are being scanned to ascertain the identity of the culprits.
Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh police have also formed a Special Investigation Team consisting senior police officer S K Bhagat who is the Inspector General Lucknow Zone; Dinesh Puri, Superintendent of Police of Crime Branch Lucknow; and Deputy SP Special Task Force (STF) P K Mishra to probe this murder case.
Uttar Pradesh DGP O P Singh in a media interaction said, “The criminals in this case will be nabbed within 48 hours. Police have collected the vital clues in this case and a weapon has also been recovered.”
A CCTV footage has also come to the fore, where a woman can be seen along with the two men who were wearing saffron colour kurta.
Interestingly, Tiwari was being provided security by the police and on various occasions, he had demanded it to be increased.
Swatantradeep Singh, a close aide of Kamlesh Tiwari while speaking with the media said that two people came to meet him at the house at around 11 am. “One of them asked me to bring cigarettes for him, after which I left. When I came back I saw Guruji (Kamlesh) lying in a pool of blood in his room and tried to contact the police through the 100 helpline and local police station number but it took police more than half an hour to respond to my phone calls and come,” Singh said.
Meanwhile, to avoid any untoward incidents and growing protests by the supporters of Tiwari, heavy contingents of the police have been arranged in the areas concerned, while in some places, the police had to resort to mild lathicharge at the protesters.
In one of the incidents, a Muslim man was targetted by the protesters in Qaiserbagh area of the city but was timely saved by the intervention of a passer-by.
Who was Kamlesh Tiwari?
Kamlesh Tiwari was a Hindutva hardliner who had hit the headlines with his controversial statement on Prophet Mohammad in 2015. His statement was made in retaliation of a comment made by Samajwadi Party leader Mohammad Azam Khan that all Rashtriya Swayam Sevak (RSS) cadre is homosexual.
Tiwari was later charged with National Security Act (NSA) and was jailed by the then Samajwadi Party (SP) government of the state.
His statement had created a huge uproar and resulted in several protests by Muslim groups across India. The NSA slapped against him was quashed by the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court in 2016. Tiwari was a native of Sitapur and had even contested the elections in 2012 from Lucknow central seat but had lost the deposit.
Similar Killings in UP
In the past one month, three right-wing leaders have been killed in Uttar Pradesh. In all the cases, investigation is still underway.
On October 8, BJP leader Chaudhary Yashpal Singh was gunned down in a similar manner in Deoband. On October 10, another BJP leader Kabir Tiwari, also a former student leader, was shot dead in Basti which led to student groups going on a rampage and burning down government vehicles. On October 13, BJP corporator Dhara Singh, 47, was gunned down by unidentified assailants in Deoband in Saharanpur.
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Then again on October 18 night, advocate Mukesh Sharma was killed by unknown assailants in Meerut while Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was delivering an election speech in Western UP saying that there is no space for criminals in the state. In another incident on the same day, a scribe working with a regional newspaper was brutally attacked in Kushinagar district.
Tiwari's mother, in an interaction with the media, held CM Yogi Adityanath responsible for his death by saying that even though the fatwas to kill Kamlesh were issued during the time of Akhilesh Yadav-Azam Khan but nothing happened then. However, despite being a Hindu Yogi, Adityanath could not save her son.
Angered by the murder of Kamlesh Tiwari, several protests were staged in the state capital of Lucknow. The right-wing supporters also forcefully shut down several prominent markets of the city like Aminabad, Naka Hindola and Fatehganj.