Leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Kerala went on a hunger strike on Tuesday at the state secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram to protest against the killing of an Adivasi man in the Attappady region, The News Minute reported.

“We will hold a 24-hour fast on Tuesday in front of the secretariat over the unfortunate incident of lynching the Adivasi man, Madhu,” the party’s state unit President Kummanam Rajasekharan (pictured above) said. “The fast is held to protest the ruling government’s offensive irresponsibility over protecting the Adivasi community.”

Rajasekharan demanded the resignation of AK Balan, the minister in charge of the development of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities, and asked the Left Democratic Front government to provide a detailed explanation of how funds earmarked for Adivasi communities had been utilised. “The government should also give Madhu’s family a compensation of 25 lakhs and ensure that a family member is provided with a government job,” the BJP leader added.

Meanwhile, the top police brass in Kerala is worried as the Attappady incident has reportedly provided the Communist Party of India (Maoist) an opportunity to launch a series of campaigns condemning the police, The New Indian Express reported.

“Already, there has been unrest after the encounter killings of two Maoist leaders in Nilambur,” the daily quoted an unidentified police officer as saying. “Now the brutal lynching incident has given them an opportunity to rake up an issue among the Adivasi people and other marginalised sections.”

The police were monitoring the situation very closely and had stepped up vigilance, Malappuram district police chief Debesh Kumar Behera said. According to intelligence inputs the police have received, left-wing rebels have formed a new unit in the state under leadership of a person named Ashok Kumar.

The Kerala Police had arrested 16 people in connection with Madhu’s murder on February 23 and charged them under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Madhu was accused of stealing rice, and was brutally beaten up. He died on the way to the hospital.