Amravati store owner killed for posting a message in favour of Nupur Sharma  

Umesh Prahladrao Kolhe, a 54-year-old chemist, was murdered in Maharashtra’s Amravati district on June 21, exactly one week before tailor Kanhaiyalal Teli was slain in Udaipur by Islamists.

According to investigators, Kolhe was reportedly murdered in retribution for a social media post endorsing Nupur Sharma.

Following a complaint by Umesh Kolhe’s son Sanket, Amravati’s City Kotwali Police Station launched a preliminary inquiry into the murder, which resulted in the detention of five people: Muddsir Ahmed (22), Shahrukh Pathan (25), Abdul Thoufik (24), Shoaib Khan (22) and Atib Rashid (22). A person named Hamim Ahmed Firoz Ahmed has vanished.

On June 21, between 10 and 10.30 p.m., Umesh Kolhe was heading home after closing his store, the “Amit Medical Store,” when the event occurred. On another scooter, Sanket, 27, and his wife Vaishnavi were riding behind him.

“We were travelling from Prabhat Chowk and our scooters had reached the Mahila College New High School’s gate,” Sanket said in his police report. “My father’s scooter was immediately approached by two men on a motorbike. One of them used a knife to stab my father on the left side of his neck when they halted my father’s motorcycle. My father was bleeding when he fell. I halted my scooter and yelled for assistance. Three men left the area on a motorbike when another man entered the scene,” he added.

Kolhe was taken to a nearby Axon Hospital with assistance from bystanders, where he passed away during treatment.

The Indian Express quoted a police official saying that the five arrested accused revealed they sought help of another accused who provided them with a car and Rs 10,000 to run away.

“During investigation we learnt that Kolhe had circulated a social media post supporting Nupur Sharma on WhatsApp. By mistake, he posted the message on a group with Muslim members who were also his customers. One of the arrested accused said this was an insult to the Prophet and hence he must die,” a source was quoted by The Indian Express as saying.

The murder weapon (a knife), as well as the getaway car and cellphones, have all been confiscated by authorities. The mobile phones have been transferred to the DFSL for technical evidence review, and all arrested suspects’ bank accounts are also being checked.

“I examined his Facebook profile and did not discover anything unpleasant,” Sanket claimed, after he learned his father’s death was over a social media post.