A BJP worker was allegedly stabbed to death by CPM activists in Kerala’s Kannur district, police said on Thursday, sparking clashes between right-wing activists and police in the politically sensitive region with a history of red-saffron violence.
The CPI (M) said the party has no role in the killing, which came barely a few days after the alleged murder of two BJP workers in Palakkad, about 200 km from Kannur.
Police said E Santhosh (52), who was active in both the BJP and its ideological mentor RSS, was attacked on Wednesday night by a gang that broke into his house in Andalur near Dharmadam, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s assembly constituency. He died at the hospital.
Violence flared up when BJP workers tried to take the body to the venue of a youth festival but were stopped by police.
Police fired tear gas shells and caned the protesters when they turned unruly, officials said.
The BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan asked the Centre to deploy central forces in the district, nearly 500 km from capital Thiruvananthapuram.
“We have lost faith in the police controlled by the ruling CPI(M). We want immediate deployment of central forces,” he said.
Police said they have taken some people into custody for questioning.
A former ‘mukya sikshak’ of the RSS, he was also the block president of the BJP
The RSS called a dawn-to-dusk shutdown in the district on Thursday to protest the murder.
Though the RSS-BJP exempted the ongoing youth festival from the bandh, many participants said they found it difficult to reach the venue.
“The ruling CPI(M) is out to vitiate peace in the area. The latest killing really exposes the fascist face of the party,” said Satyaprakash , the BJP’s Kannur district president.
Police said they have increased security in the area to avert a possible retaliatory attack.
At least 250 people, belonging to both camps, have been killed in three decade-long bloody battle for supremacy in the district, famous for ancient martial art form Kalaripayattu