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The landlord was gunned down by ‘naxals’ in Udupi district on Sunday

Victim’s son bars family from talking to presspersons

Keshav cultivated arecanut on his five-acre land

Yedageri (Udupi District): The killing of landlord Keshav Yadiyal has cast a deep gloom over his house. Keshav Yadiyal (55) was dragged out of his house and shot dead by suspected naxalites on Sunday.

Yedageri village which comes under the Hallihole Gram Panchayat is 77 km from Udupi. There is a tar road for 70 km from Udupi to Hallihole, and from there one has to take a right turn, where there is a narrow tar road for up to a kilometre, after that a six-km “kucha” road leads one to Yedageri.

Keshav Yadiyal’s eldest son Sheshachala, who appeared to be in a sense of shock, barred all the family members, friends and relatives, from talking to presspersons.

After waiting for over an hour, one of Keshav Yadiyal’s family friends began talking to presspersons in a low tone. The person, who did not want to be identified, said that Keshav Yadiyal was a farmer, who owned about five acres of land, in which he cultivated arecanut. Though the land was relatively small, the yield was high. Mr. Sheshachala helped his father while the other son Upendra owned a shop at Siddapur, about 16 km from Yedageri. Keshav’s only daughter is married.

On Sunday around 6.30 p.m., four “naxalites”, including two women, barged into Keshav’s house. Two more alleged naxalites were outside the house keeping watch. Inside the house, the four alleged naxals locked Keshav’s wife and Mr. Sheshachala. They tied Keshav to a pillar in the verandah. They first set fire to the jeep and then gunned down Keshav. “Before barging into the house, the naxalites took precautions to cut off his landline telephone connection. They then left with Keshav’s mobile telephone and his licensed gun”, he said.

When they set fire to the jeep, the roof over the verandah also caught fire. Though neighbours heard the gunshots and saw the smoke, they did not rush to Keshav’s house out of fear.

“People are frightened of the naxalites. Even I came to this place only today”, the family friend said.

Ramachandra and Nagesh, classmates of Keshav in primary school, said that people in Yedageri and neighbouring villages were caught between the naxalites and the police. There was a sense of fear in the villages. “Naxalites keep frequenting the villages here. We do not know about the problems between Keshav and naxalites”, they said.

The nearest primary school from Yedageri is about two km at Chakramaidan village. The nearest primary health centre is at Hallihole, which is about seven km from Yedageri.

Most of the land in this region is owned by the upper classes, while the agricultural labourers come from the weaker sections, including Kudbi, Marathi Naik and Hasla communities. Lack of payment of proper wages and irregular water supply to poor farmers are among the problems faced by the weaker sections in these villages, which the naxalites are said to be championing.

Combing

Deputy Superintendent of Police C.K. Shashidhar said on Monday that the combing operations by the police and the ANF were going on in Yedageri and other areas.

Speaking to presspersons here, Mr. Shashidhar said that the gunning down of Keshav must have taken place between 6.30 p.m. and 6.45 p.m.

The police said that they had recovered, among other things, three rods, a sickle, an unfired bullet, and four pamphlets containing Maoist literature from the scene of the crime.

In the pamphlets, the naxalites said that they were paying their respects to two of their associates — Ajit Kusubi and Umesh — who were killed in a police encounter at Devarabalu village in Udupi district on June 23, 2005. They also condoled the death of three of their associates in the police encounter at Mavinahola in Chikmagalur district on November 19, 2008. The rest of the pamphlet had material speaking about the problems faced by poor people, the police said.

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