Indian state shuts down internet after Hindu beheading sparks unrest

According to Bhawarlal Thoda, an administrator for the city of Udaipur, the tailor had told police he had been threatened after posting a message on social media in support of Sharma’s controversial comments.

“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. Wednesday.

He said the culprits should be tried and sentenced to death, and denied that his father made any remarks that would be offensive to other religions.

Extremist Hindu organizations staged protests in India’s capital, New Delhi, to condemn Teli’s killing and further protests were planned for Thursday.

Politicians and prominent Islamic preachers have also condemned the killing.

“The incident shocked the followers of Islam, the heinous act committed by two men is absolutely un-Islamic,” said Maulana Ahmed Siddiqui, a Muslim cleric based in Udaipur.

“The mood is tense and almost all the shops are closed today,” Thoda said in Udaipur. The city of around half a million people is one of the desert state’s top tourist attractions and is known for its luxury hotels, including the famous Taj Lake Palace.

Authorities said they suspended internet services in parts of Rajasthan to stop the spread of video of the killers, and asked social media platforms to immediately remove any content that encourages, glorifies or justifies the killing in order “to prevent any incitement and disturbance of public order”. order and to restore public peace and harmony”.

India has a long history of religious violence and thousands of people have been killed since the country gained independence from British colonial rule in 1947.

Modi’s pursuit of a “Hindu first” agenda since coming to power in 2014 has stoked tensions in a country where Muslims make up about 13% of its 1.4 billion people.

Earlier this month, the BJP suspended Sharma from the party for making offensive remarks about the Prophet and expelled another official, but the fury has not abated.

Modi did not comment on the Udaipur murder. But former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje, who belongs to the BJP, blamed the Congress Party, which now rules the state, for the “communal frenzy and violence” that erupted there.

Raje said that “such acts may occur because the state government provides tacit support to criminals.”

While the Congress has championed secular values ​​in India since independence, the BJP has cast it as a pro-Muslim party in order to alienate Hindus from its main opposition.

Rajasthan, with a population of around 69 million, is just one of two Indian states where Congress holds a majority in the state legislature, and it is due to hold elections next year. .