At least 30 houses were attacked and two dozen vehicles burnt in north Kerala on Saturday after news of the killing of rebel CPM leader T P Chandrasekharan got around.
The Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) leader was waylaid and hacked to death by a group of assailants near Vatakara in Kozhikode district late Friday night.
Chandrasekharan, 51, was returning from a private function when some men in a car hurled country-made bombs at his motorcycle. Once he fell, he was attacked with sharp-edged weapons. He received more than 50 stab wounds and his face was mutilated beyond recognition. The body was identified only when the police found his identity card.
As soon as the news of their leader's death trickled on Saturday, Chandrasekharan's supporters hit the streets, targeting houses of CPM workers. Many CPM workers fled from the area fearing further attacks.
Onchiyam, Orkatterry and Eranmala panchayats in north Kerala, where CPM supporters had resigned en bloc when Chandrasekharan had floated the RMP three years ago, bore the brunt of the violence.
Chandrasekharan's proximity to former chief minister VS Achuthanandan had led to his expulsion from CPM in 2008. Much to the embarrassment of his party, VS paid rich tributes to the leader.
Cutting short his Delhi visit, chief minister Oommen Chandy rushed to Kozhikode to pay his last respects.
Senior politburo member Brinda Karat condemned the brutal murder.
The UDF government has ordered a probe and the police have identified at least seven assailants.
PCC chief Ramesh Chennithala charged the CPM of getting Chandrasekharan killed. But CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan said it was a conspiracy hatched by the Congress to defame the Communist movement.
According to an unconfirmed report, central leadership of the CPM has sought an explanation from the beleaguered state unit.