June 29, 2022 Special Dispatch No. 10051

In Video, Two Muslim Men Admit To Beheading Hindu Tailor In India For Supporting Nupur Sharma, Whom They Accuse Of Blasphemy Against Muhammad, Threaten To Kill Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, And Call On Muslims To Kill Blasphemers

June 29, 2022
Special Dispatch No. 10051

On June 28, 2022, a video emerged showing two Muslim men killing a Hindu tailor, Kanhaiya Lal, in the Indian city of Udaipur for expressing support for Hindu politician of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Nupur Sharma, whom the men accuse of blaspheming against Muhammad, the founder of Islam.

A screenshot from the confessional video by Udaipur men

The video, a transcript of which is given below, shows the two men, who give their names as Muhammad Riyaz Akhtar and Ghaus Muhammad, in the tailor's shop. The tailor, Kanhaiya Lal, who had previously been arrested over blasphemy-related issues and had been facing threats to his life from radical Muslims, takes measurements of one of the men while the other films before the two overpower the tailor. Though the second man drops the camera, presumably to assist in the killing, screams can be heard, and media reported that the men beheaded the tailor. The two men then, brandishing a bloody knife, admit to and gloat over the beheading, give their names, threaten to kill Prime Minister Modi, Nupur Sharma, and call on Muslims to kill blasphemers.[1]

The two men have since been arrested along with three others. Protests against the beheading have broken out in Udaipur and the government has imposed a curfew in parts of the city.[2] Media are reporting that the killers are connected to Pakistan-based group Dawat-e-Islami and that one of the two men visited Karachi in 2014.[3] An Indian Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) spokesman wrote on twitter that MHA has directed National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is the primary counter-terrorism organization in India, to take over the case, and said: "The involvement of any organisation and international links will be thoroughly investigated."[4]

Muhammad Riyaz Akhtar and Ghaus Muhammad have since been arrested.

In a television appearance in late May 2022, BJP spokeswoman Nupur Sharma questioned Muhammad's marriage to his youngest wife Aisha when she was six and his consummating the marriage when she was nine. Her statements were perceived by many as blasphemy against Muhammad, and under pressure from Islamic countries including Qatar, Iran, Pakistan, and a host of Arab nations, the BJP suspended Sharma, who has since gone into hiding.[5]

In India, while some Muslim leaders urged calm, a number of Islamic leaders called for Sharma's beheading. Such leaders include: Islamic cleric Adil Ghafoor Ganai, Muslim leader Mohammad Hamid, and Muslim lawmaker Imtiaz Jaleel.[6] Nawab Satpal Tanwar, a lower caste Hindu Dalit activist, called for cutting out Nupur Sharma's tongue and offered a reward of 10 million rupees, which is about $127,000, to whomever does so.[7] Groups of Muslims in Jammu & Kashmir, where there is considerable anti-India sentiment, also called for the beheading of anyone who blasphemes against Muhammad.[8]

Following is the text of the confessional statement issued by the two men who reportedly killed the tailor Kanhaiya Lal:[9]

"Peace be upon you, and Allah's mercy and blessings upon you!

"I am Muhammad Riyaz Akhtar, and he is my brother Ghaus Muhammad. We have beheaded the one in Udaipur's Maldas street. Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah [O Messenger of Allah, Here I am!]. We are living for you and will die for you.

"Oh Narendra Modi! Listen, you have set the fire and we will extinguish it. Allah willing, I pray to my Lord, if this knife will definitely reach your neck and, Allah willing, will reach that bitch [i.e., Nupur Sharma] too.

"Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah!

"Oh, People of Udaipur, now chant this slogan, Gustakh-e-Nabi Ki Ek Hi Saza, Sar Tan Se Juda [There is only one punishment for the prophet's blasphemer, which is the separation of the head from the body]. Remember in prayers."

The killers in the tailor's shop in Udaipur


[1], June 29, 2022.

[2], June 29, 2022.

[3], June 29, 2022.

[4], June 29, 2022;, June 29, 2022.

[9], June 28, 2022.

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