The BJP has alleged that the accused who hacked to death an RSS worker in Kerala were linked to the ruling CPM.
Mr Edavakode was hacked to death by a gang, allegedly led by a man with a criminal record, on Saturday night. His left arm was chopped off and there were other severe injuries all over his body.
A murder case has been filed and eight men, including the suspected gang leader Manikandan, have been arrested.
The CPM has distanced itself from Manikandan, saying he is not a party worker. “The RSS worker’s death was not a political murder. The victim and an accused had personal enmity and had police cases filed against each other in last two weeks,” said CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, accusing the BJP of “conspiring to turn it into a law and order issue.”
The BJP’s state spokesperson JR Padmakumar, however, said, “Manikandan has been seen on many occasions as part of CPM’s youth wing programmes. The locals know this”.
Kerala has, for years, witnessed political clashes and brutal attacks involving BJP-RSS and CPM workers, but there has been an upsurge in violence in and around the state capital in recent weeks.
Last week, after a CPM student wing flag was defaced outside a college on Thursday, the BJP state office in Thiruvananthapuram was vandalised. BJP supporters retaliated with an attack on the house of Bineesh Kodiyeri, Mr Balakrishnan’s son.
Governor P Sathasivam had summoned Chief Minister Vijayan and police chief Loknath Behra for a briefing on Sunday and sought information on the RSS worker’s death and other recent incidents of violence.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted about the incident, saying “I expect that the political violence in Kerala is curbed and that the perpetrators are brought to justice expeditiously.” He also called Mr Vijayan and expressed concern over the political violence.
Clashes between workers of the Left and the RSS-BJP have before this centred around Kannur, where 110 party activists have died since 1991, according to state crime records.
Kerala politics has been dominated by the Left and the Congress, with coalitions led by the two ruling the state by turns. The BJP and RSS are attempting to build their cadre in the state, with the BJP hoping to change its status of marginal player by the 2019 general elections. In state elections last year, won by the CPM-led LDF, the BJP had won a seat for the first time ever.