A court in Kerala’s Alappuzha district on Tuesday sentenced to death 15 convicts associated with the banned organisation Popular Front of India and its political wing Social Democratic Party of India for the murder of Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ranjith Sreenivas, The Indian Express reported.

Sreenivasan, the BJP’s state secretary of the Other Backward Caste Morcha, was killed in front of his family in Alappuzha on December 19, 2021.

The BJP leader was hacked to death hours after KS Shan, a Social Democratic Party of India leader in Alappuzha, was killed by men allegedly belonging to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party on the night of December 18, 2021.

On January 20, Additional Sessions Court Mavelikara found the 15 persons guilty in the case, according to Live Law.

The 15 convicts were identified as Naisam, Ajmal, Anoop, Mohammed Aslam, Abdul Kalam alias Salam, Saffaruddin, Manshad, Jaseeb Raja, Navas, Sameer, Nazir, Abdul Kalam, Zakir Hussain, Shaji and Shernas Ashraf.

Sreenivasan’s wife Lisha expressed satisfaction with the verdict. “This cannot be seen as a murder,” she said. “It is a rarest of rare case. My husband was brutally attacked in front of us.”

After the accused were convicted, BJP state president K Surendran said that the accused being convicted was a “major blow to terrorism and terrorists”, reported The Hindu.

“Despite the Central ban, the Kerala government is adopting a soft approach towards the PFI,” he alleged. “The PFI is operating secretly in Kerala posing a threat to the people and national security.”

The Centre banned the Popular Front of India on September 28, 2022, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.