BJP Strike In Kerala After RSS Worker's Murder, Rajnath Singh Steps In

Rajesh Edavakode, 34, was attacked by men linked to the ruling CPM party, the police said. A case of murder has been filed and 8 men have been detained by the police for questioning.


Rajesh Edavakode had his hand chopped off when he was attacked last night

Thiruvananthapuram:  The BJP called for a state-wide strike in Kerala today after a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker died following an attacked. Rajesh Edavakode, 34, died in a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram after the brutal attack in which his hand was chopped off. The incident happened last night around 9 pm in the state capital.

Police said Rajesh was attacked by men linked to the ruling CPM. A case of murder has been filed and 8 men have been arrested by the police. Kerala Governor P Sathasivam summoned Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and state police chief Loknath Behra for a briefing on the incident.

Union minister Rajnath Singh tweeted about the incident:Police Inspector General Manoj Abraham said while the attack was carried out by men linked to the CPM, there was a long history of enmity between one of the accused and the victim. "We are probing any angle of political motive," he added.

The CPM has distanced itself from one of the main accused, Manikantan, saying he is not a party worker. CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said, "The RSS worker's death was not a political murder. The victim and an accused had personal enmity and had police cases filed against each other in last two weeks". BJP, he said, was conspiring to make it into a law and order issue.

BJP's state spokesperson JR Padmakumar, however, said, "Manikantan has been seen on many occasions as part of CPM's youth wing programmes. The locals know this".

Mr Edavakode was attacked around 9 pm yesterday in Thiruvananthapuram. Late in the night, senior BJP leaders visited KIMS, the hospital where Mr Edavakode was admitted.

The attack had been preceded by a chain of political violence in the city over the last two days. After a CPM student Wing's flag was defaced outside a college on Thursday, the BJP state office in Thiruvananthapuram was vandalised. The BJP supporters retaliated with an attack on the house of Bineesh Kodiyeri, the son of CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

The RSS is the ideological mentor of the BJP and is tasked with carving a base for the party in a state traditionally dominated by the ruling Left and the Congress.

CCTV footage released by the BJP on Friday allegedly showed a CPM councillor and youth wing leader throwing stones and damaging the BJP state office in presence of police. They have been arrested.

While one policeman tried to take on the attackers, he was kicked and beaten. Two policemen were promptly suspended for inaction.

The police arrested six RSS activists and seized sharp sword like weapons. By the evening, four CPM activists, including a local councillor, were arrested for "creating law and order problems".

The area that is most notorious for political clashes between the Left and the RSS-BJP workers is Kannur, where 110 party activists have died since 1991, according to state crime records.

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