Tension Erupts After Two Political Leaders Killed Within 12 Hours in Indian State of Kerala
11:31 GMT 19.12.2021 (Updated: 10:41 GMT 19.07.2022)
Last month, a member of the right-wing Hindu organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), S Sanjith, was murdered, allegedly by members of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) which is the political wing of the Popular Front of India, an extremist Islamic organisation.
Within 12 hours, the murders of two political leaders from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) have rocked Kerala's Alappuzha district, forcing the police to impose a ban on large gatherings and movement.
On Saturday evening, SDPI state secretary KS Shaan was murdered while he was on his way home on a two-wheeler, when he was attacked by a gang in a car. His bike was reportedly hit by their car and Shaan was stabbed by the assailants multiple times. He succumbed to his injuries at a Kochi hospital around midnight.
Within 12 hours of Shaan's murder, some unidentified men barged into the house of the BJP's Renjith Sreenivasan, secretary of the party's Other Backward Class (OBC) unit, and murdered him.
The two murders have triggered unrest in the district.
Condemning the murders, State chief Pinarayi Vijayan told Indian media during a press conference on Sunday that strict action will be taken and a state of emergency in the district has been declared for two days.
Police are probing the case and conducting strict checks at different locations in the district to identify and nab the accused.
"Such heinous and inhumane acts of violence are dangerous to the state. I am sure that all the people would be ready to identify and isolate such killer groups and their hateful attitudes," Vijayan said.
Referring to it as a revenge crime, BJP and the SDPI leaders have been playing the blame game, accusing each other of being responsible for their respective leader's murders.
BJP state president K. Surendran said this is the "third brutal murder of BJP workers in last 60 days. People's Front of India (PFI) goons are trying to destabilise the state."
Union minister V. Muraleedharan also condemned the attacks, alleging "goondaraj" (lawlessness) in Kerala and said the state is turning into "killing fields".
SDPI party chief MK Faizy has accused BJP'S Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) of engineering the attack and said "Government should initiate strong measures to curb RSS rampage in the state and ensure a peaceful life for the people".