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Reward announced for Tiwari suspects

On Sunday, the police had identified the suspected killers as Shaikh Ashfaq Hussain and Moinuddin Pathan of Surat

By Piyush Srivastava in Lucknow

  • Published 22.10.19, 1:30 AM
  • Updated 22.10.19, 1:30 AM
Kamlesh Tewari, the slain Hindu Samaj Party leader
Kamlesh Tewari, the slain Hindu Samaj Party leader (PTI photo)

The Uttar Pradesh government on Monday announced a reward of Rs 2.5 lakh for information on either of the two alleged killers of Hindu Samaj Party leader Kamlesh Tiwari, who was shot and stabbed in his Lucknow office on Friday afternoon.

On Sunday, the police had identified the suspected killers as Shaikh Ashfaq Hussain and Moinuddin Pathan of Surat and claimed to have recovered bloodstained saffron kurtas from the duo’s hotel room in Lucknow.

A police source on Monday said that CCTV footage collected from Shahjahanpur, 175km north of Lucknow, showed Hussain and Pathan walking on a road.

“They got off an SUV near the railway station in Shahjahanpur and walked towards the bus stand. The driver has been detained,” he said.

“He (the driver) has revealed that the two suspects hired the SUV in Lakhimpur Kheri, 90km east of Shahjahanpur, and asked to be driven to Nepal. But they later changed their mind and decided to travel to Shahjahanpur.”

State police chief O.P. Singh announced: “Those who provide leads on the whereabouts of the two killers will be rewarded with Rs 2.5 lakh for each of them.”

According to the police, three men in Surat had plotted to kill Tiwari for communally provocative remarks he had made in December 2015, and contacted the alleged killers.

Officers say Hussain and Pathan had checked into Lucknow’s Khalsa Inn hotel on Thursday and left on Friday afternoon, shortly after the murder, without paying the bill.

Police sources say CCTV footage shows the duo walking to the hotel after Tiwari’s murder but have failed to explain how they could have walked 2km on a crowded road wearing blood-soaked kurtas without being noticed.

The three alleged plotters, arrested in Surat on Friday night, have been brought to Lucknow. They are Rashid Ahmad Pathan alias Khurshid, 23, a tailor; Mohsin Sheikh Salim, 24, a cleric who works in a sari shop; and Mohammad Faizan, 21, an employee in a footwear shop. Police sources claim they have confessed.

On Saturday, the police arrested two clerics from Bijnore, Anwar-ul-Haq and Naseem Kazmi, who had in 2015 announced a reward for beheading Tiwari over his provocative remark.

The police have ignored a demand from Tiwari’s mother, Kusuma Ramshri, to probe Shivkumar Gupta, a BJP politician from Tiwari’s home district of Sitapur whom she accuses of enmity with her son. Gupta has denied any role in the murder.

Video clips showing Ramshri blaming the murder on Gupta and the police, whom she accuses of downgrading her son’s security, are being viewed widely on social media.

The state government has blocked 67 social media accounts and booked 14 account holders in Allahabad, Hamirpur, Pratapgarh, Auraiya, Hardoi, Ambedkarnagar, Deoria and Saharanpur for “spreading hate messages”.

Singh said: “The police are keeping a close watch on those trying to vitiate the atmosphere by spreading false messages relating to the case.”