Five people have been detained including three in Gujarat's Surat in connection with the murder of Kamlesh Tiwari, the president of a little-known Hindu outfit, with police saying on Saturday that the suspects were "radicalised" and appeared to have targeted him for his inflammatory remarks made in 2015.
"So far, there is no terror angle associated with this incident," Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police DGP O P Singh said at a press conference here, a day after the Hindu Samaj Party chief was killed at his home in Lucknow's Khurshed Bagh
Among the arrested were Bijnor residents Mohammed Mufti Naeem Kazmi and Imam Maulana Anwarul Haq, who were booked on murder charge on Friday after Tiwari's wife named them in her police complaint alleging that the duo had announced a bounty of Rs 1.5 crore on his head in 2016.
However, Tiwari's mother Kusuma alleged that he was killed by a "local BJP leader" due to a temple dispute in a village.
Tiwari's cremation was also delayed as family members were adamant on meeting chief minister Adityanath to put forth their nine demands, including a probe by NIA, government job for victim's son and security to family members.
The chief minister, meanwhile, said he was ready to meet Tiwari's family members. He said such incidents will not be tolerated, and those involved will not be spared.
According to police, the three persons detained in Surat by Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad were identified as Faizan Yunus Bhai, Maulana Mohsin Sheikh and Rashid Ahmed Khursheed Ahmed Pathan.
The DGP said that Uttar Pradesh police and their Gujarat counterparts were interrogating them.
Elaborating on the arrest of the three persons in Surat, the DGP said, "On the basis of a packet of sweets obtained from the crime spot, the Gujarat Police was contacted and a team was sent there. A CCTV footage of a Surat-based sweets shop was examined and Faizan Yunus Bhai was identified."
He said later Sheikh and Pathan were detained.
"Going by investigation and joint interrogation, it was clear that these three persons were part of the conspiracy to murder Kamlesh Tiwari," Singh said, adding that their interrogation revealed that they had no links with any terror organisation.
Tiwari (45) was earlier associated with a faction of the Hindu Mahasabha.
"Prima facie it seems that Tiwari was murdered due to a controversial statement he made in 2015. There is a possibility," the DGP said,
"The inciting speech... led to his murder. The information which we have received hints that planning was done for this. Of the three suspects, who have been taken into custody, one was involved in planning and one person instigated him.
"In fact it was a radicalised operation, and third went to the sweet shop and purchased sweets with the main culprit. We will get more clues," he said.
Tiwari was cremated at his native place in Mahmoodabad after the district administration succeeded in convincing his family members that their demands will be fulfilled.
"My son was killed by a local BJP leader... due to a temple land dispute in village," Tiwari's mother told reporters. She also named the leader.
The DGP said two more persons-- Rashid's brother and Gaurav Tiwari--were also questioned but were let off after investigation.
"Gaurav had called Kamlesh a few days ago, expressing his desire to work for the Hindu Samaj Party in Surat and other places," he said.
Late on Friday night, UP's Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi had informed that a special investigation team had been constituted to probe the incident.
"The team comprises Lucknow IG S K Bhagat, SP (Crime) Dinesh Puri and Deputy SP (STF) P K Mishra," Awasthi said.
Two persons had visited Tiwari with a box of sweets before killing him at his residence in Khurshed Bagh under the Naka Hindola police station in Lucknow, police had said.
Chief Minister Adityanath on Saturday said that the assailants were allowed to meet Tiwari by the security personnel posted at his residence after Tiwari gave the nod.
The killers sat with Tiwari, sipped tea, ate food and then the personal aide of Tiwari and his son were sent to the market to purchase something, and it was during this period that Tiwari was murdered, he said.
"The elements who create an atmosphere of fear and terror in the state will be strongly dealt with, and their plans will be crushed," he told reporters.