CPI-M hartal total in Kasaragod on Tuesday

A Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] activist was stabbed to death, allegedly by Congress activists, near Mangad in the district on Monday. A hartal declared by the CPI(M) on Tuesday hit normal life.

The incident, which panicked the public engaged in Onam festivities, occurred at 7.55 p.m. at Bara as a group of three persons, said to be Congress activists, stabbed M. Balakrishnan, 44, while he was riding a motorcycle. The assailants managed to flee the spot under the cover of darkness. Balakrishnan, a native of Bara, died on the spot.

A police complaint filed by Vijayan, a friend of Balakrishnan, said the man was stabbed in the chest by three men, whom he identified as Pradeep, Shibu, and Majeed, to settle political scores, sources at the Bekal police station said.

Balakrishnan’s body was taken to the Pariyaram Medical College Hospital for carrying out a detailed post-mortem examination and it was cremated on his residential premises on Tuesday evening in the presence of hundreds of people.

Babu Peringoth, Circle Inspector of Police, Kanhangad, said the police had begun a detailed probe into the murder, and the accused were still at large. Political enmity was suspected to be the motive behind the murder that has sent shockwaves across the district.

The CPI(M), which announced a day-long hartal in the district in protest against the murder, evoked total response. Public mobility was affected on Tuesday, a day after the Thiruvonam day. Shops and business houses remained closed while all modes of public transport, including the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses, kept off the roads, upsetting the travel plans of many returning to their workplaces after Thiruvonam.

While many people could not reach railway stations, a large number of passengers returning from other parts of the State were found stranded at the stations right from the morning. Only a few two-wheelers and other private vehicles were seen plying on the deserted roads in the afternoon.

Barring a few incidents of the hartal supporters blocking traffic, the district by and large remained peaceful, the Circle Inspector said.

Pinarayi sees plot

Our Special Correspondent writes from Thiruvananthapuram: CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan has said that the murder of CPI(M) worker M.B. Balakrishnan at Mangad in Kasaragod on Monday was the outcome of advanced planning.

In a statement here on Tuesday, Mr. Vijayan said only persons who had taken to killing as their job could have killed Balakrishnan with a single stab. The murder had taken place in the stronghold of the Congress. The killers had waylaid Balakrishnan as he was returning on his motorcycle on Thiruvonam day. If Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and his supporters believed that the popular agitation against him can be stopped with such killings, they were mistaken, the CPI(M) leader said.

Mr. Vijayan called upon the government to take urgent measures to bring those involved in the planning and execution of the killing and arrest the killers.

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