The police said that not all of the persons in custody are culprits and that it was examining and investigating the two killings.

A representational image of the Kerala policeImage for representation: PTI
news Violence Sunday, December 19, 2021 - 17:13
Written by  PTI

Kerala's coastal Alappuzha district was rocked by back-to-back killings of two party leaders, the first belonging to the SDPI and the second to the BJP, leading to clamping of prohibitory orders by police on Sunday, December 19.  Following the killing of an SDPI state secretary, a BJP leader was hacked to death subsequently in 12 hours and prohibitory order under CrPC Section 144 was imposed in the entire Alappuzha district on Sunday, district officials said.

Subsequently, police took into custody around 50 people, including anti-social elements, suspects, as well as workers of BJP, RSS and SDPI, IG Harshita Attaluri told reporters. The officer said that not all of the persons in custody are culprits and that the police was "examining and investigating" the two cases. She said there has been no lapse or intelligence on the part of the police which had swung into action right after the assault on the SDPI leader and added that "we cannot give protection to every house".

“The police will take action against those behind the crimes irrespective of whether they are political bigwigs, anti-social elements or members of the public. A big force of police personnel and senior officers have been deployed in the district and that is why they were able to find out a lot of details,” she added. The officer said that soon they will ascertain the motive behind the killings.

Earlier in the day, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan as well as leaders of other political parties in the state had condemned the killings. The CM said steps will be taken by the police to nab the culprits and those behind them. Subsequently, State Police Chief (SPC) Anil Kant, told the media that senior police officers were camping in the district and additional forces had been deployed there.

He said that ADGP-Law and Order would be heading the probe into the two killings and that the police would soon be rounding up troublemakers, 'goondas' and their leaders in the area to prevent another such incident from happening in the near future. Kant also said that a state-wide alert has been announced and all District Police Chiefs have been directed to closely monitor the law and order situation there and if required, prohibitory orders would be imposed and additional forces would be deployed.

The back to back killings also led to a lot of blame game amongst the parties with the SDPI blaming RSS for the killing of its state secretary, KS Shan, and the BJP accusing the former for the murder of its leader. The Congress, in turn, blamed both BJP and SDPI for the situation and said they were out to divide the state on communal lines.

BJP MP and Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs V Muraleedharan and the party's Kerala president K Surendran blamed the SDPI and lapses on the part of the state government and police for the death of its OBC Morcha state secretary Ranjeet Sreenivas. Muraleedharan denied the allegation that RSS or BJP was behind Shan's death and alleged that the Left government in Kerala was giving a free hand to extremist groups and this was making things worse in the state.

Surendran, towing a similar line, alleged that the Chief Minister was supporting the Popular Front of India (PFI), whose political outfit is the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), as in many municipal corporations in the state the CPI(M) and SDPI were actively supporting each other. He, however, did not specify which were these corporations and the CPI(M) has not reacted to this statement by him.

Congress and the UDF opposition led by it, on the other hand, alleged that both BJP and SDPI were out to create communal disharmony in the state in order to make a political space for themselves in Kerala and therefore, the state government and the people of Kerala should stay away from such groups.

Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly VD Satheesan said that the agenda of these groups was to divide the state along communal lines and that the Left government should take stringent action against them. KPCC president and Congress MP K Sudhakaran, in a statement, also blamed the Left government's alleged support of SDPI and RSS for such "political killings".

SDPI's Kerala president, meanwhile, issued a statement refuting allegations that it was behind the killing of the BJP leader. The outfit said it was not going to take another person's life in retaliation for Shan's death and that it has faith in the rule of law in the country.

Subsequently, MK Faizy, National President of SDPI, in a Facebook post, condemned Shan's murder and alleged that it was meticulously planned by the RSS which was trying to contaminate the harmonious communal ambience in the state.

SDPI state secretary Shan was brutally attacked on Saturday night while he was on his way back home. He was on his way home when a car rammed into his bike and as he fell down, the assailants inflicted around 40 injuries on him leading to his death, police said. Shan succumbed to his injuries at a Kochi hospital around midnight, police said.

Hours later, BJP's OBC Morcha state secretary Sreenivas was hacked to death by some assailants who barged into his house on Sunday morning. Police said it suspects the fatal attack on Sreenivas, also a member of the BJP state committee, to be in retaliation to the killing of Shan.