The Hindu Aikyavedi, an organisation in Kerala, appears to have threatened all secular leaders in the country. Its state president KP Sasikala said secular writers would meet the same fate as that of slain activist and senior journalist Gauri Lankesh. Sasikala, who is known for vitriolic speeches, said Congress in Karnataka desperately wanted the Lankesh’s murder to collect support and retain power in the upcoming Assembly election.

“If you want to live longer, offer a ‘Mrithyunjaya’ Puja [Puja for long life] at a temple near to you,” she said at a meeting in North Paravur in Ernakulam district on Friday. “Else, you will meet the same fate as Gauri [Lankesh].”

She said secular writers began to point fingers at Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh immediately after Lankesh’s murder. “They began to accuse RSS even before the police nabbed the culprits,” she said. She alleged that 90% of the Indian writers are secular and they oppose RSS for fame, repute, money and awards.

Sasikala said secular writers are actually acting as a catalyst for the growth of RSS. “Secular writers will vanish from India if RSS begins to kill them.” The veiled threats were greeted with chants of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” from the crowd.

She said campaigns against Gujarat riots by secularists helped Narendra Modi become the Prime Minister: “You talked about killing of pregnant women using trident. But your campaigns actually gave the world a strong Prime Minister.”

“RSS grows when you criticise us. So we are thinking whether there is any need to give it back to those who oppose us,” she said.

The Kerala Police are examining a video of the speech after VD Satheeshan, a Congress MLA, filed a complaint with the state police chief asking him to register a case against Sasikala.

On Tuesday, unidentified men fired at least four shots at Lankesh before escaping on a motorbike. Lankesh was an outspoken critic of Hindutva groups and edited and published a Kannada newspaper called Gauri Lankesh Patrike. She also wrote widely in the English press.

On Saturday, 18 writers, rationalists and progressive thinkers – Playwright Girish Karnad, writer KS Bhagwan, Veerabhadra Chennamalla Swami of Nidumamidi Mutt, Kum Veerabhadrappa, Baragur Ramachandrappa, Patil Puttappa and Chennaveera Kanavi, among others – were given police protection by the Karnataka government based on an advisory by the Intelligence Department.