Kerala police on Monday arrested eight unidentified people after a worker of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) was stabbed to death in Thalassery in the Kannur district of Kerala.
According to police, K Haridas (54), a fisherman from Punnol area, was attacked while returning home from work at around 2.30 am.
“Assailant came on two motorbikes, and they were waiting for Haridas. His brother also sustained injuries while trying to save him,” police said.
The 54-year-old was rushed to a hospital in Thalassery by the neighbours who reached the spot hearing the sound, but he died on the way, police said. The body was shifted to Pariyaram Medical College Hospital, and later taken in a procession to his house for cremation.
“He received more than 20 stab wounds, and one of his legs was cut off in the attack,” doctors said after the autopsy.
Kannur superintendent of police R Ilango said the police are on the lookout for the main accused. “A full-fledged investigation is on, and we will nab all who directly participated in the killing,” he said.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has condemned the murder and said strict action will be taken against the perpetrators of the crime. He has also asked the party workers not to get provoked and keep restraint.
“It is a deliberate attempt to vitiate peace prevailing in the area. We should not be provoked and we have to ensure peace,” he said in his Facebook post.
A senior police official said that last week there was a minor clash between the RSS and CPI (M) workers during a local temple festival in which two RSS activists were injured, and the latest murder was suspected to be a retaliation kill.
“The RSS is trying to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere of the district. It is targeting the party for protecting communal harmony. RSS and BJP were aware of well-planned and executed murder,” CPI (M) Kannur district secretary M V Jayarajan said.
CPI (M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan also asked RSS leaders to rein their cadres. “You can’t weaken the CPI (M) like this. Fascist forces want to vitiate peace,” he said.
However, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president K Surendran said the party or Sangh Parivar has no role in the murder. “A local tiff resulted in the killing,” he said.
On Monday, Thalassery and surrounding areas observed a shutdown in protest against the murder.
For CPI (M), Kannur is the breeding ground for young cadres. Many top leaders, including CM Vijayan, secretary Balakrishnan and Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) president A K Padmanabhan, belong to the district.
However, political killings have been rampant in the district for the past three decades. According to police data, more than 200 workers of both CPI (M) and RSS have been killed during this period in recurring clashes here. Last week, an RSS worker was stabbed to death in Alapuzha.
“Both, RSS and CPI(M), will have to shun politics of violence. Eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth politics will have to end. It is sad political murders are occurring frequently these days in the state,” said Congress president K Sudhakaran.