Recurring political killings steer debate in Kerala

The killing of an RSS activist in Kannur last week continued to steer political discourse in Kerala on Monday, with the Legislative Assembly witnessing a face-off over recurring violence in the district.

Meanwhile, the ruling and Opposition fronts condemned BJP leaders’ remarks against Governor P Sathasivam over his “inaction” on the issue.

The state BJP unit has been seeking imposition of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in the district after C Biju (34) was hacked to death by a gang of assailants near Payyannur on Friday.

Senior BJP leaders Sobha Surendran and M T Ramesh criticised the governor for merely “passing on” the party’s concerns on the attacks against its workers to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Police have arrested three persons, including key suspect Rineesh, in connection with the murder. Even as Vijayan termed the murder an isolated incident and assured prompt police action against the culprits, the BJP has maintained that the killers, reportedly affiliated to the ruling CPM, were part of a conspiracy hatched to organise a “revenge killing”. Biju was the 12th accused in a case related to the murder of CPM worker C V Dhanaraj (38) in July last year.

“The governor, by informing a democratically elected government about the issue, was only performing his constitutional duty,” the chief minister said. Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala slammed the BJP leaders’ statements against Sathasivam and said the governor was not a tool in the hands of the saffron party.