The police in Mangaluru has nabbed four men in connection with attacking a Muslim man in the city’s Kottara Chowki.
The police arrested PK Srijith, a 25-year-old from Uppala, Kishan Poojary and Dhanush Poojary, brothers from Padil, near Mangaluru, and Sandesh Kotian, a 22-year-old from Manjeshwar in Kasaragod.
Abdul Basheer, who ran a fast-food joint, was attacked on January 3, by a group of men wielding lethal weapons.
“The four accused were part of the Garodi Jathre, a festival which was being celebrated near Mangaluru. It was here that they came to know about the murder of Deepak Rao in Katipalla. The accused have confessed to hacking up Basheer as an act of revenge,” Mangaluru Police Commissioner TR Suresh said.
According to the police, the four accused were friends, who had frequented Basheer’s eatery several times in the past. “They said that they just wanted to attack someone from the community. They were travelling to Surathkal and saw Basheer, so they attacked him. They knew Kottara Chowki, where the eatery was located, and also knew that Basheer would be an easy target,” the Commissioner added.
Police say that one of the accused – Srijith – has been named as an accused in seven cases in the past in Kasaragod, Mangaluru and Ullal police stations. Kishan Poojary has three criminal cases pending against him and Dhanush was earlier named as an accused in an assault case, where he was also booked for rioting. Sandesh has one criminal case registered against him in the Badiyarka Police Station.
“When Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh activist Sharath Madiwala was murdered, there was a spate of attacks. The brothers, Dhanush and Kishan, were booked then for attacking one man,” the Commissioner said.
Sharath Madiwala was brutally hacked to death in broad daylight in Dakshina Kannada’s Bantwal taluk in July 2017. Sharath’s death was seen as a revenge killing after an Social Democratic Party of India activist Kalaayi Ashraf was hacked to death earlier in the same month.
Meanwhile, the investigating team is trying to recover the weapons used to hack Basheer. The police, led by ACP Valentine D’Souza, has gathered information that the weapons are stored in Dhanush and Kishan’s house.
“They have not yet revealed the name of the organisation they belong to, but they have said that they are pro-Hindu activists,” Commissioner Suresh added.
Police say that Basheer, who is admitted to AJ Hospital, is recovering and that his condition is getting better.
The police also appealed to the media to not display pictures of the victims of the recent communal killings and to avoid rumour mongering.
“It has come to our notice that certain television channels have been telecasting rumours and hearsay messages at first instance without proper verification of facts. They have also been airing footage of violent incidents and images of the injured persons repeatedly. This could further ignite tensions and disrupt communal harmony. I therefore appeal to the television channels to observe restrain and sensitivity to maintain peace and harmony,” an advisor issued by the Deputy Commissioner of Daksina Kannada district, Shashikanth Senthil states.
The advisor further appeals the media to not publish information without verifying facts, and also observe restrain in the choice of words used.