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Amravati murder: Who was Umesh Kolhe? Why was he killed?

DNA logo DNA 03-07-2022 dnawebdesk@gmail.com (DNA Web Desk)
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The Maharashtra police on Saturday arrested the alleged mastermind of the murder of the Amravati-based medical shop owner Umesh Kolhe. The police have arrested seven accused so far, including the mastermind Shaikh Irfan Shaikh Rahim. "Police have arrested the seventh accused and the mastermind in connection to Umesh Kolhe murder case," said Police Inspector Nilima Araj. Union Home Minister Amit Shah has announced that the case will be investigated by the National Investigation Agency. His ministry said the case appeared to be similar to the murder of Kanhaiya Lal Teli, the Udaipur tailor killed for supporting the suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma on Facebook. "The conspiracy behind the killing, involvement of organisations and international linkages would be thoroughly investigated," the ministry said. 

Who was Umesh Kolhe, why and how was he killed?

The murder of Umesh Prahladrao Kolhe, a 54-year-old chemist, took place a week before Kanhaiya Lal's murder. He was going home on a scooter at around 10 pm on June 21 night. His family members were following him in another vehicle. Suddenly two men stopped him and stabbed him to the death. Another person on a motorcycle whisked the attackers. 

Initial investigation by the Amravati police led them to arrest two persons - Muddsir Ahemad, 22, and Shahrukh Pathan, 25, on June 23. Three more accused -- Abdul Thoufik, Shoaib Khan and Atib Rahid -- were arrested on June 25. 

The police believe Umesh Kolhe was killed because he supported Nupur Sharma on social media. They said Kolhe had shared a post on some WhatsApp groups in support of Sharma's controversial remarks. He also shared the post on a public group which had members from the Muslim community. Some of them knew him as they were his customers. 

The police took nearly two weeks to officially admit that the Amravati man was killed due to his support for Nupur Sharma.  "The accused have told us that they killed him because of what he posted about Nupur Sharma," senior police officer Vikram Sali said. 

Meanwhile, Tushar Bhartiya, a BJP leader in the district has slammed the delay in investigation. He said had the news been shared widely on June 22, a day after the murder, Kanhaiya Lal's life could have been saved. 

The police officer said the mastermind of the crime was interrogated last night. They have a helpline called Rehbar group. Many people were connected to them; hence, the number of arrests may rise. 

Kanhaiya Lal was beheaded in his tailoring shop. The accused -- both from the Muslim community -- posed as customers and ambushed Kanhaiya Lal. The accused shared the video on social media and said they had killed Lal to avenge an insult to Islam. 

Kanhaiya Lal had shared a post on Facebook supporting Sharma. He had been arrested for the post and was out on bail. 

With inputs from PTI, ANI

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