CPM, BJP workers killed in separate incidents in northern Kerala; parties call dawn-to-dusk shutdown

Kannur: Shattering a brief lull in political violence in northern Kerala, a CPM cadre and a BJP worker were killed in separate incidents within hours near here, police said on Tuesday.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

CPM leader and former Mahe municipal councillor Babu, 42, was waylaid by a group of eight people, stated to be RSS and BJP workers, and hacked at Palloor in Mahe, an enclave of Union territory of Puducherry, around 9 pm on Monday, police said. Babu suffered serious injuries and died on the way to a hospital, they said.

In an apparent retaliatory attack, 40-year-old BJP worker Shemaj, an autorickshaw driver, was pulled out of his vehicle and hacked to death by a six-member gang at New Mahe within 30 minutes of the killing. Police said the identity of the assailants in this incident was under investigation. Both the attacks were due to political vendetta, they added.

Mahe, a former French colony, is located between Thalassery in Kannur district and Vadakara in Kozhikode district. New Mahe comes under Kannur district A dawn-to-dusk 'hartal' called by the CPM and BJP in Kannur district and Mahe evoked near total response with shops remaining closed, police said. The killings shattered the four-month long lull in political violence involving workers of ruling CPM and BJP and RSS workers in the politically-sensitive Kannur region.

In January, the LDF government initiated several rounds of peace talks with leaders of various political parties, including the CPM, BJP and the Congress resulting in the lull in the cycle of violence. Governor P Sathasivam then voiced concern over the recurring violence and wanted the political leadership in the state to sit together and persuade their cadres to choose the path of peace

With the twin murders on Monday night, both Kerala and Puducherry police have deployed several personnel in the area as a precautionary step to prevent any further outbreak of violence. Leaders of the CPM and BJP traded charges over the killings. Kannur CPM district secretary P Jayarajan alleged the killing of their party leader was a "deliberate and planned" attack and demanded a probe into the conspiracy behind it.

He alleged that the RSS and BJP were trying to create an atmosphere of tension and had broken the peace accord. CPM Kerala secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan condemned the attack and alleged that the saffron party was trying to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere. BJP state unit president Kummanam Rajasekharan said police had failed to provide safety to party cadres and ensure security. Congress leader and former chief minister Oommen Chandy wanted stern action against those behind the two killings.

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Updated Date: May 08, 2018 20:10:04 IST

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