The statewide shutdown called by the BJP on Thursday to protest the murder of a young party worker in chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s village in north Kerala began amid tight security.
Remith was hacked to death by an alleged group of Communist Party of India (Marxist) workers in front of his house and barely 500 metres away from the CM’s residence in Pinarayi on Wednesday morning. The latest killing was an apparent retaliation for the murder of a CPI(M) activist five days ago.
The 20-year-old was the son of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliate Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh leader Uthaman who was also a victim of political violence in 2002.
The police have registered a case against 10 people and identified the vehicle used in the crime.
Except for stray incidents, no major violence has been reported from the state.
Notorious for clashes between the RSS and Marxists, Kannur district has witnessed seven political murders this year. Two killings took place in CM’s assembly constituency Dharmadom.
“These are sponsored killings by Marxist cadres with the active patronage of the chief minister. There may be ideological differences but violence is a weapon for those who cannot engage in political debate,” party president Amit Shah tweeted condemning the murder.
However, the CPI(M) squarely blamed the BJP-RSS for fanning the fresh round of killing.
“Sangh Parivar unleashed violence after PM (Narendra) Modi and Amit Shah called for the same at the recently concluded national council meet in Kozhikode. The statewide hartal is a bid to create a wrong impression that law and order situation collapsed in the state,” CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said.
Amid a blame game, police have expressed helplessness and said that there is a lack of political will to quell the violence.
“If the police are not given a free hand bloodbath would continue to hound the district. Political leadership should isolate criminal elements in their party,” northern range IG D Kashyap said.
RSS leaders say they have been targeted because of their efforts to expand their presence in the Marxist stronghold. The CPI(M) says its supporters are attacked because they continue to protect the Muslims.
But a close scrutiny shows that out of 280-odd deaths in the district in the last 3 decades, Muslims count well below 20. The majority of the dead are backward Thiyas (Ezhavas), the backbone of the Communist movement in north Malabar.
Marxists call the fight against the RSS a ‘mass uprising’ while their opponents call it ‘self-defence’ mechanism.