Early on Monday morning, a group of men brutally attacked an accused in the 2015 murder of Bajrang Dal activist Prashanth Poojary in Dakshina Kannada’s Moodabidri.
The accused, 32-year-old Imtiyaz, was hacked with a machete at his restaurant around 6.30 am.
According to Moodabidri police, Imtiyaz had opened a small restaurant in Gantalkatte. A group of eight men arrived in a car and entered the restaurant.
“They went in and ordered tea. Imtiyaz went into the kitchen and the men followed him. They attacked him with a machete on his head and legs. When another customer tried to intervene and stop them, the gang attacked him too. The men then got into the car and sped away after attacking both of them,” Moodabidri police said.
Police suspect that Imtiyaz was attacked as a move to exact revenge for Prashanth Poojary’s murder. “Imtiyaz has been admitted to a private hospital and is out of danger now. The customer who tried to intervene has also been shifted to the hospital. A case of attempted murder has been registered against unidentified persons. There is police bandobast in Moodabidri to ensure untoward instances do not occur,” the police added.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Uma Prashanth said that special teams have been formed to look for the accused.
On October 9, 2015, 29-year-old Prashanth Poojary, a flower seller and a member of Hindutva outfit Bajrang Dal, was stabbed by six motorcycle-borne men in Moodabidri. The only witness to the controversial murder, Vaman Poojary, allegedly committed suicide six days after Prashanth’s death.
Prashanth’s murder had turned into a controversy and a huge debate of intolerance and communalism ensued in the media, especially since his murder came close on the heels of the infamous Dadri lynching.
During almost every conversation about the atrocious murder of Mohammad Akhlaq by a mob in Bisara village in UP for allegedly slaughtering a cow and storing beef, many belonging to the right-wing argued that Prashanth Poojary’s murder was not being talked about enough.
Following the high drama, the police had arrested nine people from the Popular Front of India (PFI), a radical Islamic organisation that is quite active in Karnataka, in connection with the crime.
On his death bed, Poojary allegedly named four people who were involved in the attack, while talking to his father. On October 21, 2015, police arrested two out of the four people he had allegedly named. Those arrested were Mohammad Sharif and Mohammad Mustafa (both named by Prashanth), Kabir and Mustafa Kavoor. Imtiyaz was arrested later that month.
Prior to this, police had arrested Mohammud Haneef (36) and Mohammud Ilyas (27), Ibrahmin Liyaqat (26) and Abdul Rasheed (39) on October 18, 2015.