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India state on alert after Prophet Muhammad row beheading

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The murder of a Hindu man in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan has sparked religious tensions in the area.

The victim, a tailor named Kanhaiya Lal, was killed in Udaipur district on Tuesday by two Muslim men, who filmed the act and posted it online. The men posed as customers to enter Kanhaiya Lal’s shop, and attacked him while he was taking their measurements.

They claimed the act was in retaliation for the victim’s support for controversial remarks made by a politician on the Prophet Muhammad. The victim had allegedly put up a social media post supporting former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma, who made controversial comments about the Prophet Muhammad last month.

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In another video, they boasted about the murder and also issued threats to prime minister Narendra Modi while brandishing cleavers.

The government has suspended internet services and banned large gatherings. Police have arrested the two men, who had identified themselves in the video.

The federal government has asked the National Investigative Agency, India’s top anti-terrorism agency, to investigate the incident.

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Three weeks before his murder, Kanhaiya Lal had been arrested by the police for allegedly hurting religious feelings. He had asked for police protection after his release, citing threats to his life. The police then called some Hindus and Muslims for a peace meeting, after which Kanhaiya Lal said he didn’t “need any more action against any one”, a police official told the newspaper.

The incident has been condemned by prominent politicians across party lines in India.

Some BJP leaders have said they will march in the national capital Delhi to protest against the killing.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board called the incident “highly condemnable”, adding that it was against both Indian law as well as Islamic strictures.—BBC

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