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Dhandhuka murder case: Cleric among the two, held in police remand for 8 days

The Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) stated it will look into if the two suspects are linked to any Islamic fundamentalist organisations or banned anti-India terrorist organisations

Dhandhuka murder case: Cleric among the two, held in police remand for 8 days

A magistrate's court in Ahmedabad gave cleric Maulvi Qamar Gani Usmani (40) an eight-day remand to the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) on Monday, a day after he was detained in connection with the recent murder of Kishan Boliya alias Kishan Bharwad in Dhandhuka.

Azeem Sama (38) of Rajkot, who was detained in the same case, was also remanded for eight days by the ATS. Both accused were arrested on January 30 at 8.30 p.m., according to the ATS's remand application, and are being held in police custody until February 7.

According to public prosecutor JC Patel, who represented the state in the remand hearing, the judge granted an eight-day remand after Usmani stated his willingness to cooperate with the investigation.

Bharwad, 30, was shot and killed by two bike-riding guys in Dhandhuka on January 25 while riding his motorcycle. Police then disclosed that the murder was allegedly motivated by Bharwad's improper social media video post.

So far, five people have been arrested, including two clerics — Maulvi Qamar Gani Usmani and Maulana Mohammad Ayyub Javarawala — as well as Sabbir Chopda, Imtiyaz Pathan, and Azeem Sama.

While Sabbir and Imtiyaz allegedly shot at Bharwad, the weapon was allegedly provided by Javarwala and Sama, and the shooters were allegedly provoked by Usmani, according to police.

Usmani was also arrested by the Tripura police in November last year for promoting, abetting, or instigating any unlawful conduct under section 13 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

"It has come out in the investigation that the main shooter Sabbir contacted Usmani on Instagram and then he was invited to Delhi by the latter," said a senior ATS official.

The ATS in its remand application seeking custody of the two accused for 14 days explained that among the aspects that the investigating agency plans to probe includes Sama's involvement in supplying arms given his "prior arrest under Arms Act".

They will also look into his earlier criminal history, as he is accused of murder, crimes punishable under the Arms Act, and the Prohibition Act in almost a dozen cases in Rajkot police stations, and has previously been arrested under the Prevention of Anti-Social Activities (PASA) Act.

His criminal history has been mentioned by the ATS as evidence of being a "hardened criminal." According to the ATS' remand application, Usmani, who runs the Tahreek Farooghe Islam organisation in Delhi, must be investigated as to where he held meetings in Gujarat and whether he received any funding from India or abroad "to teach lessons to those making comments against Islam and the Prophet."

According to the remand application, Usmani was detained in November 2021 for instigating the people of Panisagar, Tripura, and was later freed on bail.

The ATS further stated that it will look into if the two defendants are linked to any Islamic extremist organisations or banned anti-India terrorist organisations.

According to a top official with the Gujarat ATS in charge of the case, Usmani had visited Gujarat several times in the previous six months.

"Later, Usmani himself visited several cities- Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot and Vadodara- of Gujarat for the next six months wherein he tried to build a base for his organisation by reaching out to youth. Even in the past, Usmani has been vocal about harsh punishment in blasphemy cases," the ATS official added.

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