A 30-year-old leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s minority wing in Tamil Nadu was hacked to death by unidentified men in Chennai on Tuesday, the police said, The Indian Express reported.
The police identified the man as Balachander, who was the Chennai central district secretary of the BJP’s Scheduled Caste unit.
The attack occurred around 7.30 pm in the city’s Chintadripet area.
After being informed about the case, the police reached the spot and took Balachander to the hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.
Unidentified officials told ANI that a personal security officer was assigned to Balachander after the BJP leader suspected he was under threat. The officer, however, was on a tea break when the attack took place.
The police are searching for three assailants who escaped after killing Balachander.
“It’s a murder case involving previous enmity [angle],” Chennai Police Commissioner Shankar Jiwal said. “Eyewitnesses have spoken about the incident. We have formed a special team to arrest the accused. I have come here [site of murder] to see if there was a lapse of any sort.”
The area has been cordoned off and a forensic team was collecting evidence, The Indian Express reported.
The police are also going through the CCTV footage of the crime scene for clues.
BJP leader K Annamalai said that the security situation was a cause of concern in the state.
“There is an environment in which the DMK government is inactive and the police are of no use to the common people,” he wrote on Twitter.
SG Suryah, BJP’s state secretary, alleged this was the 19th murder in the last 21 days in Chennai.
“Tamil Nadu CM [Chief Minister] MK Stalin, who holds home portfolio, is busy watching his son’s movie in [a] theatre,” Suryah said. “Absolute lawlessness.”
The leader of Opposition in the state legislative Assembly, EK Palaniswami, also said that 18 murder cases have been reported in the past 20 days in the city.
“Incidents like this have turned the capital into a murderous city, disrupting law and order and questioning the safety of the people,” the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader wrote on Twitter. “The chief minister, who owns the police station, has been trying his best to block comments of the press without regulating the law.”
BJP’s vice-president in Chennai Karu Nagarajan said the party will stage a protest if the accused persons are not caught within 48 hours.
Nagarajan said that Balachander was a young and dynamic leader of the party, The Indian Express reported.
“He [Balachander] questioned the malpractices in the area,” Nagarajan said. “He lodged a complaint at the police station against a few people who collected mamool [unofficial collection of money] from shops including at his brother’s. If the police had acted on his complaint, this incident would never have taken place.”
Members of the BJP also staged a protest outside the hospital where Balachander’s body was sent for postmortem examination.
Meanwhile, the police commissioner refuted the claims that murders were increasing in Chennai.
“There have been a few incidents in the past few days,” Jiwal said. “We are conducting an inquiry and if the officers are found at fault, due action would be initiated against them. Let the FIR [first information report] come out, we will have further details on this.”