The State government has provided armed cover for at least 100 functionaries of the Bharatiya Janata party, Hindu Munnani, Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh and others in the wake of the murder of BJP general secretary ‘Auditor’ V. Ramesh in Salem on Friday.
The Special Division of the State intelligence shortlisted the vulnerable persons, including a Deputy-Inspector General of Prisons, who were provided police protection with immediate effect.
A majority of them came under category ‘A’, which meant round-the-clock armed security wherever they were.
Under category ‘B’, police would accompany the leaders or officers when they leave home.
While Hindu Front leader Ramagopalan is covered by ‘Y’ scale of security, a few others in the BJP have armed guards accompanying them.
Besides probing whether extremist elements were involved in the Salem murder, police were looking at angles such as land deals and financial transactions.
Ramesh’s murder seems to have been a planned one, as the suspects knew when and where he could be targeted.
“They came walking to his office, asked the aged security man to sit down calmly and hacked the victim to death…after that they walked away from the scene,” a senior police official said on Monday. We are perusing some specific clues that might lead to the arrest of the suspects soon,” he said.
Investigators were studying the modus operandi of communal murders reported in the past and trying to look for any similarity in the Salem case, though no threat was perceived from any particular organisation targeting Ramesh.
“Communal murders in the past indicate that functionaries of certain Hindu organisations were targeted in the western and southern districts since the late 1980s.
In Coimbatore alone, seven such murders were reported between 1989 and 2002. Dindigul, Madurai, Tirunelveli and Theni districts have also come to adverse notice when it came to the activities of extremist elements,” the official said.
As part of heightened security arrangements following the murder of Ramesh, police have enhanced security arrangements at major places of worship in Tamil Nadu. Police have also intensified night patrolling and vehicle checks in communally sensitive areas, the sources added.