Lockdown in Indian city after gruesome killing

Thursday, Jun 30, 2022

UDAIPUR, India: Hundreds of police were deployed in an Indian city on Wednesday following the murder of a Hindu tailor allegedly by two Muslim men after a ruling party official anti-Muslim remarks that have inflamed sectarian tensions.

The cold-blooded attack in the western city of Udaipur was captured on video, quickly going viral online and gripping a country with a long and explosive history of deadly communal violence.

The video showed the tailor Kanhaiya Lal being attacked in his shop. Further footage showed the two accused purportedly brandishing large knives and threatening to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

They then justified their murder for Lal’s alleged support of anti-Muslim comments by a spokeswoman for Modi’s Hindu nationalist ruling BJP party, remarks that have triggered protests across parts of the Muslim world in recent weeks.

Hundreds had gathered outside Lal’s house ahead of his funeral on Wednesday, a day after several hundred gathered to protest and chant Hindu slogans in response to the killing. People on motorcycles and cars waved saffron flags -- the colour of the Hindu faith -- and shouted slogans demanding the death penalty for the accused.

The two young men were arrested on Tuesday as they attempted to flee Udaipur by motorbike, news reports said. To prevent potential sectarian violence, authorities deployed 600 extra police and put the city of around 450,000 people under curfew, snapping mobile internet access there and in other parts of Rajasthan state. Local authorities issued a month-long order banning four or more people from gathering anywhere in the state.

"Both the accused in the killing have been arrested and we will ensure strict punishment and speedy justice," said Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot. Gehlot appealed to people to not share the video as it would "serve the attackers’ motive of creating discord in society".