Protests erupted in Karnataka’s Dakshina Kannada district on Wednesday following the murder of a Bharatiya Janata Party member, NDTV reported.
Praveen Nettaru, the district secretary of the party’s youth wing Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, was hacked to death on Tuesday night by unidentified assailants on a bike. The attack took place as he was closing his poultry shop in Bellare village in Sullia taluk of the district.
“Nettaru saw two men on a Kerala-registered motorcycle coming towards him and he ran towards a neighbouring shop to escape them,” an unidentified police officer said, according to The Indian Express. “However, they hit him on his head with a machete before fleeing the spot.”
The officer added that Nettaru was taken to a private hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
On Wednesday, tension prevailed in the Bellare village after the killing as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad called for a bandh in Sullia, Kadaba and Puttur taluks of the communally sensitive coastal district, PTI reported.
Additional police forces were sent from Mangaluru and Udupi to ensure law and order in the area, according to India Today.
The BJP leader’s body was taken in an ambulance by members of various Hindutva organisations to his nativeplace Bellare.
Visuals showed BJP Yuva Morcha workers surrounding state BJP President Nalin Kumar Kateel’s car as he arrived in Puttur district to pay his respects to Nettaru. The angry workers pushed Kateel’s vehicle around, refused to let him step out and heckled him.
The workers shouted “Down down BJP” slogans before the police dispersed them.
Members of the BJP’s youth wing in various parts of Karnataka also submitted mass resignations from the outfit, NDTV reported. They blamed the BJP-led government in the state for failing to protect the lives of the party workers.
Security has been beefed up in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts. Some schools have declared a holiday in the wake of tensions in the area.
Authorities have imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code prohibiting the gathering of four or more persons in Puttur taluk on Wednesday and Thursday, The News Minute reported. The prohibitory orders will be in force till midnight of July 28.
Special teams formed to arrest perpetrators
District Superintendent of Police Rushikesh Sonanay told India Today that five special teams have been formed to arrest the accused persons.
“Out of the five, three teams have been sent to Kerala, Madikeri and Hassan in Karnataka respectively,” Sonanay said.
Mangaluru Deputy Commissioner Rajendra told NDTV that the muder is being thoroughly investigated.
“I spoke to the family regarding the autopsy and the funeral,” he said. “We will forward the family’s requests to the government.”
Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said that the crime spot is close to the Kerala border and so the investigating officers are in touch with the neighbouring state’s police, NDTV reported.
“It is natural that there will be anger over losing a young man, but I request people to maintain peace,” the home minister said.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavraj Bommai criticised the killing in a tweet.
“The perpetrators of such a heinous act will be arrested soon and punished under the law,” Bommai wrote in a tweet. “May God bless his family with the strength to bear this pain.”
Meanwhile, the Leader of Opposition in Karnataka Legislative Assembly and senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah asked the police to take action against the perpetrators behind the killing without any biases.
“I condemn the murder of Bajrang Dal leader Praveen Nettaru in Dakshina Kannada,” he wrote on Twitter. “Police should immediately arrest the murderers and prevent unrest in the region.”
Former Chief Minister of Karnataka HD Kumaraswamy asked when the string of murders will end in the state.
“The government of Karnataka which gets up after every murder, is not trying to prevent the murder from happening, why?” he asked on Twitter.
Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Shobha Karandlaje on Wednesday wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, seeking directions to the National Investigation Agency to takeover Nettaru’s murder case, ANI reported.
“The eyewitnesses of this ghastly murder have revealed that the assailants had come on motorbikes bearing Kerala registration number,” she wrote in a letter to Shah. “Therefore, it is clear that the assailants came from Kerala, which is very close by.”