Violence broke out in Kannur district of Kerala on Wednesday night over the death of a 22-year-old worker of the Indian Union Muslim League during Assembly elections in the state, PTI reported. At least 10 Left party offices were vandalised, and police resorted to baton charge as the protests spiralled out of control.
The Indian Union Muslim League alleged that its member Mansur and his brother, a polling agent of the United Democratic Front, were attacked with sharp weapons by a group of Communist Party of India (Marxist) workers during a post-polling clash in Kannur on Tuesday. The party accused Left workers of throwing bombs at the two men, a charge the CPI(M) denies.
Mansur had suffered critical injuries on his leg, and was admitted to a private hospital in Kozhikode. He was declared dead by doctors on Tuesday. The police have taken a CPI(M) worker into custody in connection with his death.
Tensions flared on Wednesday during Mansur’s funeral procession, when some workers of the Muslim League allegedly attacked offices of the CPI(M). Three police personnel got injured and a police bus was damaged in the incident, Kannur Superintendent of Police Ilango R told PTI. The homes of a few people accused in the murder case were also attacked, he said.
“I visited the spot,” he added. “The funeral procession happened late in the evening and some people attacked the party offices in the dark. Only party offices were attacked, it seems.”
He said that “around five-six persons”, mostly IUML workers, were taken into custody for vandalising five party offices in Chockli and Kolavellur police station limits. “A few more [offices] were also attacked in other places,” the police official added.
The CPI(M) Peringathur local committee office and the branch committee offices in Aachimukku, Keezhmadam, Kochiyangado and Kadavathur were also reportedly attacked. A few libraries were also burned down, allegedly by the Indian Union Muslim League workers, according to PTI.
Ilango said the police were investigating the matter, adding that more people will be taken into custody and a case will be registered against them. For now, extra police force has been deployed in the violence-affected areas, he said.
District Collector T V Subhash called an all-party peace meeting at 11 am on Thursday. Kannur Range Inspector General Venugopal K Nair said the situation was under control.
‘CPI(M) unleashing violence in Kerala’
Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala accused the Communist Party of India (Marxist) of unleashing violence in Kerala, and urged the party to “shed the path of violence”, reported The Hindu.
The Congress leader said the attack on the Muslim League worker revealed the “fear and frustration” of the CPI(M) over losing power. The Indian Union Muslim League is part of the Congress-led United Democratic Front in the state.
Chennithala also accused the CPI(M) of capturing polling booths in the Taliparamba constituency. He demanded repolling there.