Eatery Owner, Attacked Allegedly Over Karnataka BJP Worker's Murder, Dies

According to police, the accused men seem to have chosen Basheer Ahmed as their victim at random

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The BJP has alleged that many of its workers have been killed under Congress rule in Karnataka.

Mangaluru:  An eatery owner who was attacked by a group of men in Karnataka on Wednesday, reportedly in retaliation for the murder of right-wing activist Deepak Rao, died at a hospital this morning. Basheer Ahmed, who ran a food stall in Mangaluru, was attacked on the night of January 3 when he was closing his shop. The CCTV cameras captured the assault and helped the police identify the attackers.

The police have arrested four people for the fatal attack on Mr Ahmed. TR Suresh, Commissioner of Police, Mangaluru, said the accused told them during interrogation that they had randomly picked their victim to avenge the killing of BJP worker Deepak Rao earlier the same day. Of the four men, Kishen and Dhanush Poojary are brothers who were accompanied by Srijith and Sandesh.

Deepak Rao, 22, was hacked to death in Surathkal in Dakshina Kannada district, a coastal region of Karnataka known for communal tension. There were plans to take his body for a procession but the police didn't grant permission fearing escalation of tension. The crowds, however, gathered in Surathkal to protest against the murder.

The BJP and RSS in the state described Rao as a Hindu activist and said the Congress government was turning a blind eye to killing of right-wing activists in the state.

BJP state president and former Chief Minister, BS Yeddyurappa said, "This is the government's style of functioning.  The law and order situation is so bad that people feel they can get away with murder, especially in Mangaluru."

The Congress in turn says the BJP is communalising the issue as the state elections are just around the corner.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said, "A murder has happened which should not have happened. I condemn the killers. Investigation is on. The police have already arrested four people in this connection. The man who died happened to be Hindu. But a life is a life. All life is precious. They are making allegations because elections are coming. It is the BJP which is responsible for communal clashes."

The situation is under control and investigations are on, he added.

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