Kerala police arrested six CPI(M) workers on Saturday in connection with the murder of an RSS activist, despite the ruling party’s claim that it was not a political killing.
CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had said that the activist – Santhosh – was murdered over a property dispute, and the party was not involved in the crime.
The 52-year-old RSS worker was hacked to death by a gang of people who barged into his house at Andalur, near chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s assembly constituency of Dharmadam, on Wednesday. The next day, members of the BJP and the RSS observed a day-long bandh to protest the killing.
The district in north Kerala, which is notorious for red-saffron clashes, witnessed eight political murders in the last seven months. Four such killings occurred in Vijayan’s constitutency.
Police said minor political skirmishes in the area, including two stabbings last week, culminated in the murder of the RSS worker. Santhosh, who was stabbed 20 times, reportedly disclosed the names of his assailants while he was being taken to the hospital.
The state government had transferred two police officers from the region – inspector general Dinesh Kashyap and superintendent of police KG Philip – on Friday, spurring allegations from opposition parties that they were punished for not toeing the party line.
BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan called on the chief minister on Friday and asked him to set up a special investigation team to probe the activist’s murder. The party has been demanding deployment of central forces in the politically volatile area.
CPI(M) leaders, on the other hand, were upset with police for permitting RSS-BJP workers to take Santhosh’s body to the vicinity of the ongoing youth festival in Kannur.