The Congress on Saturday alleged that the main accused in the Kanhaiya Lal murder case in Udaipur was a member of the BJP, which dismissed the claim as ”fake news” and an attempt to deflect attention from the ”failures” of Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan.
At a press conference in the national capital, Congress’ media department head Pawan Khera cited Facebook posts showing accused Riyaz Akhtari with local BJP leaders and sought to know whether the Centre had moved quickly to transfer the case to the NIA due to this reason.
”Through the posts of BJP leader Irshad Chainwala on Facebook on November 30, 2018, and Mohammad Tahir on February 3, 2019, October 27, 2019, August 10, 2021, and November 28, 2019, and other posts, it is clear that the killer of Kanhaiya Lal terrorist Riyaz… was not only close to BJP leaders, but was also an active member of the BJP,” Khera alleged.
He said Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had welcomed the transfer of this case to the NIA.
However, in light of ”new facts”, the question arises whether the BJP-led government at the Centre moved quickly to transfer the case to the NIA due to these reasons, he said and demanded that the BJP come clean on the issue.
Responding to a tweet by a Congress leader, BJP’s IT cell chief Amit Malviya said the accused were not BJP members and the opposition party should ”stop fooling around” on matters related to national security.
”I am not surprised that you are peddling #FakeNews. The Udaipur murderers WERN’T members of the BJP. Their attempt to infiltrate was like the LTTE assassin’s attempt to enter the Congress to kill Rajiv Gandhi,” he tweeted.
”Congress should stop fooling around with terror and national security,” Malviya said.
Mohammad Sadiq Khan, Rajasthan president of the BJP Minority Morcha, also said the photos cannot be held as proof of Akhtari being a party member.
He alleged that the Congress wanted to shift the blame on the saffron party to divert public attention from the ”failures of the Ashok Gehlot government which did nothing for minorities” in three-and-a-half years.
”Anyone can have a photo with any leader. It does not mean that he is a member of the BJP,” Khan told reporters.
”He might have gone to some programme of the party to carry out a recce and got photos clicked with local leaders. Since it is a normal trend to upload photos with leaders or celebrities on Facebook and other social media platforms, he might have also uploaded the photo but it does not mean that he is a BJP member,” Sadiq said.
The BJP leader said the murder highlights the state government’s failure as it did not provide security to Kanhaiya Lal despite a clear threat.
Khan said Akhtari’s vehicle number was ”2611”, which he obtained by choice in 2013, and this indicated his radical ideology.
BJP leader Kapil Mishra met the family members of Kanhaiya Lal and announced financial help of Rs 1 crore collected through a fundraising initiative.
Kanhaiya Lal, a tailor, was hacked to death on Tuesday afternoon by two cleaver-wielding men, who posted online a grisly video of the crime saying they were avenging an insult to Islam. The killing has sparked widespread outrage.
Akhtari and another accused Ghouse Mohammad were arrested hours after the incident while fleeing on a motorcycle.
Two more people, who were allegedly involved in a recce of Kanhaiya’s shop and the conspiracy to kill him, were also arrested later. The four were on Saturday remanded in police custody till July 12.