The Congress is observing a 12-hour shutdown in Kerala on Monday to protest against the killings of two workers in Kasargod district the previous night.
The party has claimed the Youth Congress workers were killed by members of the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist). The CPI(M) has denied the charge.
Stray incidents of violence were reported during the shutdown, Online Manorama reported. One person was injured during stone pelting in Ernakulam. Protestors blocked roads at various places in Idukki, Malappuram and Ernakulam. The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation stopped its services from Palakkad depot after protestors threw stones at buses.
Initially, the shutdown was called only in Kasargod district, but was later extended to the entire state, reported Mathrubhumi. Congress chief Rahul Gandhi called the incident “shocking”. “We will not rest till the murderers are brought to justice,” he tweeted on Monday.
The two workers who were hacked to death on Sunday were identified as Sarath Lal and Kripesh. They were returning home on a two-wheeler when a gang travelling in a car attacked them at Periya, an unidentified police official told The Indian Express.
The gang allegedly dragged the two men to a nearby bush where they were hacked to death. Kripesh reportedly died on the spot, while Sarath Lal succumbed to his injuries on the way to a hospital in Mangaluru in Karnataka.
“It is heart-wrenching to learn that two youth Congress leaders have been killed by CPM supporters,” tweeted former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. “There is no room for violence in any civilised society.”
Leader of the Opposition in the Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala called it “barbaric” and “unpardonable”. “The thirst for blood never quench for the CPM,” he tweeted. “Two tender lives have been snatched away by the CPM goons again in the town of Kasargod.”
CPI(M) District Secretary MV Balakrishnan Master denied the party had any role in the murders, PTI reported. “We strongly condemn this murder,” he said. “We are against murderous politics. We don’t have any role in this.”
Police said they suspect the murders were a fallout of a fight between Congress and CPI(M) workers a few days ago. The CPI(M) Periya branch secretary and two workers were injured in the clash.