MUMBAI (REUTERS) – Fearing outbreaks of religious violence, police in the Indian state of Rajasthan banned public gatherings and suspended Internet services a day after two Muslims posted a video claiming responsibility for killing a Hindu tailor in the city of Udaipur.
Two suspects were being interrogated by federal investigators on Wednesday, while state police were on guard against any unrest in the northwestern state.
“We are under strict orders to prevent any form of protests or demonstrations scheduled to condemn the murder,” Hawa Singh Ghumaria, a senior police officer in Rajasthan, told Reuters, adding that the crime had sent “shockwaves through the country”.
Brandishing a meat cleaver, two bearded men said in the video that they were avenging an insult to Prophet Muhammad caused by the victim.
They also alluded to Nupur Sharma, a former spokeswoman for the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), whose remarks about the Prophet earlier this month triggered domestic and international outrage.
India’s Home Minister Amit Shah said in a tweet that federal police had taken over the investigation into “the brutal murder” of Kanhaiya Lal Teli, giving the victim’s full name.
“The involvement of any organisation and international links will be thoroughly investigated,” Shah said.
Late on Wednesday, a spokesman from Pakistan’s foreign ministry rejected reports in some Indian media that linked the suspects to a Pakistan-based organisation.
The two assailants had slashed Teli’s head and throat in an attack while the tailor was taking measurements, according to Bhawarlal Thoda, a city administrator in Udaipur.
According to Thoda, the tailor had been detained over a social media post in support of the BJP spokeswoman that was traced to his mobile telephone, and that after being released Teli had told police on June 15 that he was being threatened by some group.
“Terrorists executed my father in the most shocking way, the country must stand with our family to demand justice,” the victim’s son, Yash, told Reuters after his father’s body was cremated on Wednesday.