The maulana based in Bijnor who had announced a reward of Rs 51 lakh for the head of pro-Hindu activist Kamlesh Tiwari, another Muslim cleric from the same Uttar Pradesh town and three Muslim youth (including another maulana) from Surat of Gujarat who might have executed the call of faith have been arrested today.
The police informed that the two Muslim clerics are Imam Maulana Anwarul Haq (who had announced the reward) and Maulana Mohammed Mufti Naeem Qazmi. The suspects from Gujarat are Rashid Ahmad Khurshid Ahmad Pathan, Faizan Yunus Bhai and Maulana Mohsin Sheikh.
Rashid (23) is a tailor by profession but he has good knowledge of computers, said the police. Maulana Mohsin Sheikh (24) works at a shop of saris. Faizan (21) is a worker at a shoe shop.
Tiwari was the founder-president the Hindu Samaj Party that he had established just before the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly election.
Tiwari’s wife Kiran had named the two maulanas in her police complaint. Together, she said, the duo had in 2016 announced a reward of Rs 1.5 crore for killing her husband. “They have killed my husband by hatching a conspiracy,” she had alleged.
DGP of Uttar Pradesh Police OP Singh said that, in a coordinated effort, the police forces of Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat were interrogating the suspects. “So far, there is no terror angle associated with this incident,” the DGP said in a press conference.
“On the basis of a packet of sweets obtained from the crime spot, the Gujarat Police was contacted and a team was sent there. A CCTV footage of a Surat-based sweets shop was examined and Faizan Yunus Bhai was identified,” said Singh.
It has come out from the investigation and joint interrogation that Maulana Mohsin Sheikh, Rashid Ahmed Khursheed Ahmed Pathan and Faizan Yunus Bhai “were part of the conspiracy to murder Kamlesh Tiwari”, Singh said. However, the DGP added that no link between the suspects and any terror organisation could be established based on the interrogation.
Rashid’s brother and Gaurav Tiwari were detained for questioning but were released after the preliminary investigation. “Gaurav had called Kamlesh a few days ago, expressing his desire to work for the Hindu Samaj Party in Surat and other places,” Singh said.
Tiwari (45), earlier associated with a faction of the Hindu Mahasabha, was killed at his home in Lucknow’s Khurshed Bagh on 18 October. “Prima facie it seems that Tiwari was murdered due to a controversial statement he made in 2015. There is a possibility,” the DGP said.
Yesterday, soon after the murder, the police had booked the maulanas of Bijnor and an unidentified person. Later, additional chief secretary-home, Uttar Pradesh, Awanish Awasthi had told the media that a special investigation team had been constituted to probe the incident. “The team comprises Lucknow IG SK Bhagat, SP (Crime) Dinesh Puri and DSP (STF) PK Mishra,” Awasthi said.
Dissatisfied by the fact that Tiwari was murdered despite a constable deployed for his security and the statement by the police today, the family of the victim said they have lost faith in the state administration and they want the NIA to investigate the case.