On November 12, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot alleged that the perpetrators of the Udaipur tailor Kanhaiya Lal Teli’s murder were affiliated with the BJP. He asserted that the saffron party was attempting to stoke communal tensions ahead of the November 25 Assembly elections in the state.
During a campaign visit to Jodhpur on Deepawali, Gehlot told reporters that if the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Rajasthan Police had handled the case instead of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the investigation would have reached a logical conclusion.
Kanhaiya Lal, a tailor, was brutally murdered inside his Udaipur shop on June 28 of the previous year by two assailants in broad daylight. The attack was purportedly in response to his online support for suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma.
The incident occurred shortly after Sharma’s suspension from the BJP due to an alleged blasphemy attempt against the founder of Islam.
The beheading of the Udaipur tailor resonated nationwide, eliciting a strong public outcry. Initially reported at Dhanmandi police station in Udaipur, the case was subsequently re-registered by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on June 29, 2022.
“It was an unfortunate incident, and upon learning of it, I cancelled my scheduled events and promptly travelled to Udaipur. However, despite being aware of the Udaipur incident, several top leaders of the BJP opted to attend an event in Hyderabad,” Gehlot conveyed to reporters.
He mentioned that the NIA took charge of the case on the day of the incident, and the state government did not raise any objections to this decision.
“Currently, the public is unaware of the actions taken by the NIA. If our Special Operations Group (SOG) had pursued the case, the perpetrators would likely have been brought to justice by now,” stated CM Gehlot on November 12.
The brutal killing occurred in Udaipur’s Maldas area on June 28. Following the crime, the two assailants shared a video on social media, proudly admitting to the “beheading” and issuing threats to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as reported by the police. Within hours of the incident, the two accused, who self-identified as Riyaz Akhtari and Ghouse Mohammad, were apprehended by the police.
The Chief Minister of Rajasthan asserted that the assailants had connections to the BJP and disclosed that, preceding the incident, these perpetrators had been arrested in another case. He claimed that BJP leaders had visited the police station to secure their release.
“The culprits are linked to the BJP. Days prior to the incident, when the police arrested these individuals in a different case, some BJP leaders went to the police station to secure their release,” stated Gehlot.
He further emphasised that the BJP, sensing potential defeat in the upcoming elections, was resorting to baseless claims. Gehlot criticised their focus on creating controversies instead of acknowledging the government’s initiatives and legislation. He expressed confidence that the people would respond fittingly.
During an election rally in Chittorgarh the previous month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the Congress-led government, headed by Gehlot, of engaging in “vote-bank politics” in the Kanhaiya Lal case.
PM Modi stated, “The incident in Udaipur is unimaginably horrific. Individuals, under the guise of having clothes stitched, visited the tailoring shops and ruthlessly attacked the tailor without any fear of the law. The Congress, however, interpreted this case through the lens of vote-bank politics. I ask the Congress: what actions did you take following the Udaipur tailor’s killing, apart from engaging in vote-bank politics?”