Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday ordered an investigation into the death of two members of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), who were killed by alleged Youth Congress workers in Thiruvananthapuram. The Congress, however, has distanced itself from the murder, saying it “does not believe in violence”.

Three people have been arrested in connection with the case far, according to The News Minute.

Police said Mithilaj and Mohammad Haq were waylaid and attacked with sharp-edged weapons when they were returning home on Sunday night in Venjaramoodu district, reported PTI. While Midhilaj died on the spot, Haq succumbed to injuries in hospital, they said. Both of them were workers of the Democratic Youth Federation of India, or DYFI, the youth wing of CPI(M).

“I have instructed the police to conduct a thorough investigation to catch the people who are behind the murder,” Vijayan said in a Facebook post. “There will be investigation on the reasons that led to the murder and those who worked behind it. I pay my condolences to Haq Muhammed and Mithilaj.”

The police said the CCTV footage from the site of assault showed about eight men standing on a road along the route taken by Haq and Mithilaj. The video showed two gang members attacking the CPI(M) workers with a sword.

The police said they suspected this to be a case of political rivalry between the ruling party and the Congress. Both the CPI(M) and the DYFI too alleged that Congress workers were behind the attack. “It is a planned murder,” CPI(M) Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan was quoted as saying by PTI. “The top leadership of the Congress has a role in it.”

Party leader KN Balagopal accused the opposition party of encouraging violence. “Two DYFI workers were brutally killed on the eve of Thiruvonam day,” he said. “It is evident that the Congress, instead of encouraging democratic discourse, is encouraging violence against CPI(M)-DYFI workers in the state. We strongly condemn this heinous attack on DYFI activists.”

The CPI(M) leader said the party will observe a “black day’’ on September 2, to protest against the “brutal killing” of the DYFI workers.

But the Kerala unit of the Congress rejected the allegations and said it had no role in the killings. “The Congress is not a party of assailants,” said Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala. “We don’t encourage goons in our party.”

Chennithala added that a “false propaganda” had been unleashed by the state government to blame his party. “The effort by a government, which has lost face due to its misdeeds, to malign the Congress will not succeed,” he said.

The killing of Mithiraj and Haq also led to clashes between Youth Congress members and DYFI workers on Monday. The violence, which took place in front of the Public Service Commission office in Pattom, erupted when a march by DYFI activists against the deaths converged with a separate protest organised by Congress workers in the same area.