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After Udaipur murder, similar killing of Umesh Kolhe in Maharashtra raises questions, BJP leader claims he was killed for supporting Nupur Sharma

Maharashtra BJP leader and spokesperson Shivrai Kulkarni has said that the police should investigate whether Umesh Kolhe was killed by Islamists for supporting Nupur Sharma

On June 22, Umesh Kolhe, a chemist living in Maharashtra’s Amravati, was murdered by four Muslim assailants while he was returning from his pharmacy that night. While the reasons of the murder are not clear yet, Maharashtra BJP Spokesperson Shivrai Kulkarni has alleged that he was killed for supporting Nupur Sharma. Kulkarni has said that the police should investigate whether Kolhe was killed over a post in support of Nupur Sharma on social media.

The 54-year-old Medical professional ran a pharmacy ‘Amit Medical’ in the Tehsil office area, in Maharashtra’s Amravati. On the night of the murder, on June 22, Umesh Kolhe was on his way home with his son Sanket and daughter-in-law Vaishnavi on different bikes. In the attack, Kolhe was attacked with a knife from the back on his neck in which he was seriously injured. With heavy blood overflowing, Kolhe died on the spot.

Kolhe’s son and daughter-in-law rushed to his aid, but the assailants had managed to escape because of darkness. As told by Kolhe’s son to the police, there were two men stopped the vehicle and attacked it. The Crime Branch and the City Kotwali Police launched a joint investigation and arrested the two suspects named Mudassir Ahmed Sheikh Ibrahim and Shah Rukh Pathan Inayat Khan. The police have also arrested two more accused – Abdul Taufiq and Shoaib Khan in connection with Kolhe’s murder.

Upon investigation, it was learnt that the assailants were doing reiki of the area in which Kolhe was killed. While it is suspected that there is a religious angle to the case, the Amravati City Police have said that they would continue to investigate the matter involving through every probable angle.

Maharashtra BJP leader alleges Nupur Sharma angle

Maharashtra BJP leader and spokesperson Shivrai Kulkarni has alleged that the case might involve a Nupur Sharma angle to it. Kulkarni has said that the police should investigate whether Umesh Kolhe’s death was avenged over his posts supportive of ex-BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma on Social Media sites. “Since the police has Kolhe’s phone, it should probed whether he was getting death threats over posts supporting Nupur Sharma. It doesn’t look like this murder was done over normal loot,” Kulkarni said.

“The case is very suspicious. The assailants did not have much criminal background before murdering Kolhe. Mr Kolhe had shared some posts regarding Nupur Sharma on social media and some Whatsapp groups. It is imperative that the police investigate whether this fact has to do with his gruesome murder,” Kulkarni said in a video.

Further, he informed that the attack on Umesh Kolhe was done in a very ‘professional’ way with a 5-inch Chinese knife. “The assailants who attacked Kolhe on his neck did not even bother to touch the money lying in his bag. They were keeping a watch on him for a week. The Police should investigate this angle without any outside pressure,” Kulkarni informed after meeting the family of the deceased.

Ex-BJP corporator from Amravati Tushar Bhartiya has demanded that the findings of the investigation should also be shared with the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) through an application to Maharashtra Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis.

Arrested culprits say they wanted to rob Umesh Kolhe

While demands are made to probe the religious angle, the police have claimed to have cracked the case, saying that it was a robbery case gone wrong. According to the police, the arrested accused have said that they keep an eye on traders in the night, and rob them after finding a proper opportunity. Accordingly, they were studying the movements of Kolhe, and on that day, they followed him after he started to move towards his home after shutting his shop. They had chosen a lane that Kolhe takes, which remains mostly deserted at that time. They stopped him in the lane and tried to rob him, but Umesh Kolhe tried to fight them and also raised an alarm. Therefore, one of the attackers stabbed in his stomach using a Chinese knife. They immediately fled as Umesh’s son Sanket, who was riding behind him, had reached there by that time.

Incidentally, although there is a CCTV camera where the incident took place, it was no help as the area was completely dark. Police than scanned the CCTV cameras of the entire area, and also scanned mobile phones which were active at that time at the crime scene. Based on these information, police were able to nab Mudassir Ahmed Sheikh Ibrahim and Shah Rukh Pathan Ihayat Khan. Later the other two were arrested in connection with the case. All of them have made the robbery claim.

However, their claim is questionable as they didn’t take anything from Kolhe after killing him. The victim had around Rs 35,000 with him, and the money was found intact. Therefore, the cause of the murder remains a mystery.

On Tuesday, a tailor in Rajasthan’s Udaipur, Kanhaiya Lal was beheaded in broad daylight by two Islamist assailants days after they targeted him with death threats over posts supporting ex BJP-spokesperson Nupur Sharma.

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