Two men were arrested today in connection with the July 26 murder of BJP youth wing leader Praveen Nettaru at Bellare in Karnataka's Dakshina Kannada district that had led to massive protests and the Chief Minister's intervention.
The two men — identified as Bellare local resident Mohammed Shafiq, 27, and Zakir, 29, from Savanoor in Haveri district — are suspected of "links" with the Popular Front of India. "We are investigating all of those angles and also the motives of these men," said Alok Kumar, ADGP, law and order. Both had been taken into custody for questioning yesterday, and were arrested today "on the basis of evidence". More arrests may be made after interrogating them, said the police.
Praveen Nettaru, 32, district secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, was killed by three men who were on a motorcycle and carrying a machete, when he was returning home to nearby town Sullia after closing his poultry shop at Bellare on Tuesday night.
This led to protests as members of the BJP youth wing said the party's state government failed to protect its own. Visuals of protesters surrounding state BJP president Nalin Kumar Kateel's car and heckling him also went viral.
Chief Minister Basavaraj S Bommai promised a speedy investigation, and six teams were thus formed. Fifteen people were taken into custody for questioning, police said yesterday. Three of the teams were sent to regions within Karnataka and to neighbouring Kerala, as the bike had a Kerala registration number.
In Bellare and Sullia, the protests were particularly angry with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad calling for a bandh. Hundreds joined in when his body was taken to his home. Some right-wing outfits have alleged that Popular Front of India and Social Democratic Party of India are behind the murder.