The BJP has called for a state-wide strike in Kerala today after a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker Rajesh Edavakode died after being attacked. Rajesh, 34, died in a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram after the brutal attack in which his palm was chopped off. The incident happened last night around 9 pm in the state capital.
According to Inspector General of Police Manoj Abraham, "The attack was by a gang of men involving CPM (Communist Party of India (Marxist) activists. However, there was a long history of enmity between one of the accused and the victim. We are also probing any angle of political motive."
Senior BJP leaders made late night visits to KIMS, the hospital where worker was admitted after the attack. RSS is the ideological mentor of the BJP and is tasked with carving a base for the party in a state dominated by the ruling Left and the Congress.
The death comes just two days after a BJP state office was attacked, following which CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan's son's house was attacked - all in Thiruvananthapuram.
The unrest began on Thursday evening, with the defacing of a Left youth wing flag and soon escalated to houses of BJP and CPM workers being vandalised. But acting swiftly, the police arrested six RSS activists and seized weapons from them. By evening, four CPM activists, including a local councillor, were arrested for "creating law and order problems".
CCTV footage released by the BJP on Friday had allegedly showed a CPM councillor and youth wing leader throwing stones and damaging the BJP state office, right in the presence of the police, who stood aside. They have been arrested. While one policeman tried to take on the attackers, he was kicked and beaten. Two policemen were promptly suspended for inaction.