Kamlesh Tiwari would have remained the little known leader of a fringe Hindu outfit had it not been for his gruesome murder in Lucknow on Friday.
In 2015, Tiwari , who was in his mid-forties, first made headlines when he allegedly made objectionable remarks against Prophet Muhammad, which created a huge uproar and resulted in massive protests by Muslims across the country. He had also posted inflammatory comments on social media.
Saharanpur and Deoband, in particular, were on the boil after Tiwari's remarks and protests were seen on the streets. The national highway was blocked and the police had a tough time trying to control the outrage.
A police officer was even injured during the clashes between the mob and the police and tempers cooled down only after Tiwari was arrested.
An FIR was lodged against him under Sections 153-A (promoting enmity between groups on ground of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code.
The police booked him under the National Security Act (NSA) and he spent a year in jail. In 2016, the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court quashed the NSA against him and he was released on bail.
Tiwari was the self-proclaimed president of the All India Hindu Mahasabha and his claim was keenly contested on several occasions by the Mahasabha itself.
Finally in 2017, Tiwari floated his own Hindu Samaj Party and made desperate attempts to emerge as a Hindu hardliner -- he even announced a temple dedicated to Nathuram Godse. But the project never took off.
Tiwari had also made an unsuccessful attempt to enter electoral politics in 2012 when he contested the Assembly elections from Lucknow and lost.
However, he had built up a group of strong supporters for himself, comprising mainly wannabe Hindu leaders.
Tiwari was shot dead in broad daylight in Lucknow on Friday. He was rushed to the trauma centre where he succumbed to his injuries.
According to reports, the attackers, wearing saffron clothes, walked into Tiwari's office in Khurshid Bagh area on the pretext of handing over a box of sweets. Soon after walking in, the assailants opened the box, took out the firearm and sprayed Tiwari with bullets and fled.
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