A day after the incident, Home Minister Rajnath Singh voiced concern over attacks on political workers in Kerala and said political violence was unacceptable in a democracy. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s office here said Singh spoke to him this morning over phone.
“The Chief Minister informed him that the state government would take action against the accused, whoever they may be. Rajnath Singh expressed satisfaction on this stand,” the CMO said in a Facebook post. A gang led by a history sheeter had attacked the 34-year-old RSS ‘karyavahak’ Rajesh and hacked him to death.
His left arm was chopped off and there were several injuries all over his body. The police said the suspected main accused, a history sheeter, was among those taken into custody from rural Kattakkada near here this morning.
City Police Commissioner G Sparjan Kumar said interrogation of the accused was going on. “Five persons are in police custody now. They were taken into custody from rural Kattakkada. A hunt is on for one more person. Only a detailed questioning will reveal the exact number of accused involved in the crime,” he said.
State Police Chief Loknath Behera has appealed to the people to restrain from spreading rumours and provocative messages, statements, photos and videos. “Any such action would attract legal action,” he said, adding that WhatsApp groups and Facebook posts are under the scanner of police.
As part of precautionary measures, adequate police force has been deployed in all sensitive spots across the city, the official said. The dawn-to-dusk state-wide hartal called by the BJP today in protest against the incident was almost total with state-run and private buses keeping away from roads and shops and business establishments remaining closed.
Sporadic incidents of stone pelting on vehicles were reported in some parts of the state. People, who reached railway stations unaware of the hartal, had difficulty in getting vehicles to reach homes. City police has extended prohibitory orders for three more days till August 2 and banned processions in the state capital.
The ruling CPI(M) and the BJP traded charges each other over the killing of the RSS functionary. While BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan alleged that the CPI(M) was behind the attack, the CPI(M) district leadership denied any role of the party in the attack.
Opposition leader in the state Assembly Ramesh Chennithala and Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president M M Hassan went on a fast in Kozhikode district to protest the “politics of violence”. Describing the murder as brutal, Kummanam said this is “annihilation politics” aimed at wiping off the RSS and BJP. The BJP would take up the matter with the Prime Minister, Home Minister and National Human Rights Commission, he said. The incident comes close on the heels of the attack on the BJP’s Kerala unit office and stone pelting at the house of CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s son Bineesh Kodiyeri here