Security was tightened in Katipalla, shops in Mangaluru were closed and schools sent their wards home early after news of the death spread on social media.

BJP man hacked to death in broad daylight in Dakshina Kannada protests erupt
news Crime Wednesday, January 03, 2018 - 19:15

Katipalla in Dakshina Kannada was on edge on Wednesday after Deepak Rao, a man who was working with the BJP as part of its social media team, was hacked to death.

The incident occurred in broad daylight when Deepak, who works at a mobile currency shop, was on his way to work. The police said that four youth in a white car stopped him and attacked him, before fleeing. Deepak was immediately rushed to a private hospital in Mangaluru but he was declared dead on arrival.

“We have not yet verified whether he is an activist of a religious group. What we know is that he has been hacked to death. Police have taken precautions to prevent any untoward incidents from happening,” said TR Suresh, Commissioner of Police, Mangaluru.

Activists belonging to pro-Hindu groups gathered at the hospital to protest Deepak's death. “What happened today is an inhuman killing and the Popular Front of India (PFI) has done this to spread fear in the district. Deepak was regular in attending programmes held by pro-Hindu groups and they have killed an innocent man who has no case against him,” said Sharan Pumpwell, Convenor of the Bajrang Dal for South Karnataka.

BJP leader Shobha Karandlaje took to Twitter to condemn the killing and claimed that 'Jihadi forces were operating without fear'.

Shops in Mangaluru shut down and schools sent their wards home early after news of Deepak’s death spread through Mangaluru on social media. Security was tightened in Katipalla in the wake of the incident.

Kattipalla has had a number of communal flare-ups in the past – most recently in November, when Hindu and Muslim groups clashed over buntings. Pro-Hindu groups were celebrating the Hindu Dharma Sansad and had put up saffron buntings in the village. In November, a part of the decoration came off when flags were being put up for Milad-un-Nabi, and this led to a clash.

The Bajrang Dal claimed that Deepak was involved in the skirmish over the buntings.

Meanwhile, others contended that he was not an active volunteer of the Bajrang Dal. “Deepak was not closely related to the Bajrang Dal, but he was part of the groups that clashed over buntings put up in the village in November,” said Muneer Kattipalla, State President of Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI).

In July last year, Sharath Madiwala, a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was killed in Mangaluru, and two people were arrested in connection with the death, including PFI leader Khaleelulla from Chamarajanagar.

Last month, pro-Hindu groups had protested the death of Paresh Mesta, a youth in Uttara Kannada who was found dead in a lake. The protests by pro-Hindu groups led to clashes, although Paresh’s father denied that he was a member of a political party.

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