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RSS leader killed in Palakkad, second political murder within 24 hours in Kerala

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Palakkad, Apr 16: Kerala on Saturday witnessed a second political murder within a span of 24 hours in Palakkad district, where an RSS leader was hacked to death in the afternoon by a bike-borne gang, which the police suspect as a retaliation to the murder of a PFI leader the previous day.

Representational Image

S K Srinivasan (45), a former district leader and office-bearer of RSS, was attacked by a six-member gang at his motorbike shop in Melamuri near here, police said.

The incident occurred less than 24 hours after a Popular Front of India (PFI) leader was killed in a village near here, allegedly by the RSS.

While the BJP and the opposition Congress trained their guns on the ruling Left government saying the incident point at the worsening law and order situation in the state, the district administration on Saturday issued prohibitory orders till April 20.

ADGP (Law and Order) Vijay Sakhare will camp at Palakkad town to coordinate the investigation while three companies of Kerala Armed Police have reached the district to maintain the security.

Following the RSS leader's murder, locals have closed shops in the nearby areas and the police have increased the security. The CCTV visuals from the nearby shops, which was aired by TV channels, show the assailants riding three motorbikes reaching the shop and three of them attacking Srinivasan.

A massive manhunt has been launched by the police to nab the culprits who fled the scene after committing the murder of the RSS leader.

Meanwhile, the police have warned that stern action will be taken against those who try to incite communal tension through social media in the backdrop of Palakkad murders.

The state police chief has given instruction to monitor social media activity in the state to control the spread of any fake news that may incite communal tensions.

Earlier in the day, the opposition Congress came down heavily on the Left government alleging that the increasing number of communal and political murders happening in the state nowadays was a result of communal appeasement being done by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The BJP also attacked the Left government and said the law and order situation in the state has been deteriorating even while the Home Ministry was handled by the Chief Minister himself.

Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly V D Satheesan said the police force have become mute spectators of violence and murders with people living under fear as there is no protection for their life and property.

However, the DYFI, the youth wing of the CPI(M), said the back-to-back murders were part of the RSS-SDPI plan to create riots and communal unrest in the state.

"The people of the state need to understand the attempts to create communal divide and must reject the attempts of communal polarisation," DYFI said in a statement.

SDPI is the political offshoot of the PFI.

CPI(M) District Secretary E N Suresh Babu said the RSS and the SDPI were trying to create and spread unrest in Palakkad district.

"The BJP state chief (K Surendran) visited Palakkad two days before the SDPI worker was killed. The involvement of the top leadership of the BJP must be probed. Both the murders must be probed and the culprits must be brought to justice. The RSS and SDPI workers are roaming around with intention to create riots in the state," the CPI(M) said.

Union Minister V Muraleedharan, in a statement, said the murder of the RSS worker in broad daylight was the latest example of the deteriorating law and order situation in Kerala.

"The law and order situation is worsening in the state. It's worrying that in a state where the Chief Minister himself is handling the Home Ministry, the police department is in shambles," Muraleedharan said.

BJP state chief Surendran, who met the media in Thiruvananthapuram, alleged that the state government and the police were "facilitating terrorists to kill people".

"It was the failure on part of the police that resulted in the Alappuzha and Palakkad incidents. Police was not cautious enough and this led to the murder of the RSS worker," Surendran said.

Meanwhile, police on Saturday took into custody four RSS workers in connection with the murder of Subair the previous day.

Subair, 43, was hacked to death at Elappully in the district while he was returning home along with his father after offering prayers in a mosque on Friday afternoon.

The body of the PFI leader was handed over to his relatives after conducting an autopsy at the District General hospital here. Subair's body was taken to his native place to conduct the last rites with a large number of SDPI and PFI activists accompanying it.

Subair was murdered allegedly by RSS workers yesterday, five months after a local Sangh Parivar leader was murdered in the same area allegedly by SDPI activists.

Police also have found the car in which the assailants of Subair fled after the crime. Several people have been questioned by the police in connection with the PFI leader's murder.

The PFI on Friday had alleged that it was the RSS which was behind the killing of its leader. Police suspect that the attack on the RSS leader was a retaliation.

The back-to-back killings involving BJP/RSS and SDPI/PFI is the second such incident in the past few months in Kerala.

Earlier, in December last year in Alappuzha, a leader of SDPI and a leader of BJP were murdered within 24 hours.

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