Update: The last rites have since been performed by the family, after authorities gave permission for a rally from Deepak’s residence to Krishnapur.
Krishnapura, in Katipalla, is unusually crowded for a weekday morning. A large group of people stand huddled outside one particular house, which bears unmistakable signs of being in mourning.
This was where 32-year-old Deepak Rao used to stay with his brother and mother.
Deepak, who worked with the Bharatiya Janata Party, as part of its social media team, was hacked to death in broad daylight in Katipalla, as he was riding a motorbike 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.
Mangaluru Police Commissioner TR Suresh said that the four suspects were nabbed after a short chase, where they opened fire at the police. They have been identified as Mulky Naushad, Rizwan, Pinky Nawaz and Nirshan.
A tense situation
According to locals, Deepak's father died a long time ago, and his mother worked as a homemaker. He also had a 24-year-old mute brother, which made him the sole breadwinner of the family.
As news of Deepak's death spread on Wednesday, pro-Hindu groups planned to hold a funeral procession from the hospital to the victim’s home in Katipalla.
However, the Mangaluru police shifted the body from the hospital to Deepak's house in the wee hours of Thursday morning to prevent any untoward incidents from taking place.
Irked by this, the pro-Hindu groups gathered at his residence in protest.
They demanded that the Home Minster himself visit the family, even as the police tried persuading Deepak’s kin to cremate his body.
As the morning progressed, more people gathered in Krishnapura.
"Deepak was part of the BJP for the past one year. He had no criminal antecedents and was not at all aggressive. He largely kept to himself," says Lokesh Bollaje, a local BJP leader.
Stating that Deepak was part of his team, Lokesh added, "He did not actively participate in the party activities and was more a bystander at our events."
Sharan Pumpwell, convenor of the Bajrang Dal for South Karnataka, also alleged that the Popular Front of India (PFI) was behind the killing of "an innocent man, who has no case against him".
Meanwhile, fresh incidents of violence were reported in the aftermath of Deepak’s death as Dakshina Kannada remained tense.
While 47-year-old Basheer, who runs a fast food outlet, was attacked at Kottara Chowki in Mangaluru, 22-year-old Mubashir was ambushed as he was riding from Katipalla towards Mangaluru.
Both the victims have been admitted to different hospitals, where they are undergoing treatment.
State Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy rushed Additional Director General of Police Kamal Pant to the town to look into the incident.
The local media also reported that District Collector Sasikanth Senthil met the family and assured them a sum of Rs 5 lakh from the CM relief fund
The state government also deployed additional police to maintain law and order and ensure peace, as the BJP and Bajrang Dal called for a day-long shutdown of the district on Thursday.