“Insult to Prophet Mohammad” Indian Bus Driver Nearly Beheaded in Blasphemy

A man in India’s most populous state was arrested after he hit a bus conductor with a cleaver after a dispute about bus fare, alleging that he assaulted the conductor because he allegedly insulted the Prophet Muhammad.

20-year-old Lareb Hashmi, an engineering student from the city of Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh, attacked a 24-year-old bus conductor, Harikesh Vishwakarma, because of a dispute over ticket fare, the authorities said on November 24th. Hashmi confessed to committing the crime via video message, but he argued that he attacked Vishwakarma for "insulting Prophet Muhammad.

Hashmi attempted to escape, but authorities later captured him after he was shot in the leg during an encounter. The Prayagraj Police said the incident occurred on the morning of November 24th when Hashmi fought with Vishwakarma over bus fare. Hashmi, a first-year engineering student, then assaulted Vishwakarma with a cleaver. The conductor sustained severe, multiple injuries on several parts of his body, including his neck.

The student left the bus and ran to a college campus to hide. Inside the college, Hashmi took a video of himself confessing to the crime while also holding the cleaver he used to attack Vishwakarma. There, he claimed that he attacked the bus conductor for blasphemy and for “insulting Prophet Muhammad.

The accused was also heard taking the names of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh’s Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in the video. In another video, Hashmi was seen running outside with the cleaver in his hand.

The bus driver, Mangla Yadav, later recounted the incident and said, “There was a sudden attack inside the bus. I heard the sound of commotion and stopped the bus.” Yadav said they took Vishwakarma to a hospital immediately for medical treatment.

The Prayagraj Police then entered the college where Hashmi was hiding after the attack and tried to arrest him. However, when the authorities seized him to recover the weapon he used during the assault, Hashmi allegedly fired at the police.

The authorities retaliated and shot back, which caused a bullet injury in Hashmi’s leg. He was subsequently arrested and taken to a hospital for medical treatment.

"Following the incident, the accused was arrested by the police, and a case under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code was registered. Further investigation is underway," the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) of Prayagraj’s Yamunanagar area, Abhinav Tyagi, said regarding the incident.

The DCP also said that Hashmi lives in the Hajiganj area of Prayagraj and is a first-year engineering student at the city’s United Engineering College. His father, Mohammed Yunus, runs a poultry farm in the city.

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