The police on Thursday arrested four men in connection with an attack on two CPI(M) workers at Mangalam, near Tirur, on Wednesday.

CPI(M) Purathur local committee member A.K. Abdul Majeed, 55, and I. Arshad, 35, were hacked by a group suspected to be SDPI activists on Wednesday in the wake of the by-elections in three wards of Mangalam grama panchayat.

A police team led by Circle Inspector R. Rafi arrested Eninte Purakkal Majeed, 42, Thaivalappil Noufal, 25, Alukkal Sabinoor, 28, and Vengadan Abdul Gafoor, 38, from Chamravattom on Thursday evening.

The police said eight more men were to be picked up in connection with the incident.

Majeed and Arshad came under attack on the Mangalam- Purathur road while coming to Tirur in a car. They were waylaid by the group, pulled out of the car, and hacked and beaten up. Majeed suffered several blade injuries while Arshad sustained wounds when he tried to stop the attack on his friend. They were admitted to the Medical College Hospital, Kozhikode.

The incident took a political colour when the CPI(M) accused the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) of its involvement in it. The CPI(M) said the IUML executed the attack with the help of goons in retaliation for its defeat in the by-elections.

The IUML had lost the by-elections to the three wards in Mangalam panchayat. While CPI(M)’s C.P. Shukoor beat IUML’s Mohammed Rafi by 152 votes in the Asanpadi ward, IUML dissident M.V. Husain defeated party candidate M. Abdul Majeed by 97 votes with the help of the CPI(M) in the Arayan Kadappuram ward.

In the Koottayi north ward, dissident K. Shihabuddin defeated IUML’s P. Alavikutty by 10 votes. The issue started when jubilant CPI(M) workers beat up SDPI activist K.T. Abdul Latheef. A shop into which Latheef ran for cover was also attacked. According to the police, SDPI workers retaliated by attacking the two CPI(M) workers.

Both the IUML and the SDPI have distanced themselves from the attack. IUML district general secretary P. Abdul Hameed said neither the IUML nor the UDF had any role in the attack.

Meanwhile, the CPI(M) said it would observe a hartal in Tirur on Friday.

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