Staff Reporter

Murder of top RSS district functionary at Kilimanoor on May 9

  • Police have no clue about identity of assailants
  • They suspect the murder to be `revenge killing'

    Thiruvananthapuram: The Crime Branch police are yet still in the dark over the murder of N. Sunil Kumar, a top district functionary of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) who was hacked to death by an armed gang at Kilimanoor in the early hours of May 9.

    The investigating agency took over the case on May 28. So far, the police have no clue about the identity of the assailants or the vehicle used for the operation.

    The Crime Branch suspects the murder to be a "tit-for-tat revenge killing" planned and executed with precision by the members of a cadre-based political organisation considered to be religious fundamentalist in nature by the State Home Department.

    The organisation is infiltrated by members of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), according to the affidavit filed by the State Government recently before the tribunal investigating the legality of the ban on SIMI.

    The Crime Branch is yet to find out what was the "immediate motive or provocation" for the murder. There was nothing in Sunil Kumar's recent past to suggest that he was involved in any operation against the "fundamentalist" organisation.

    Sunil Kumar had figured as accused in the case registered in connection with the attack on 60-year-old American national and Protestant missionary Joseph Cooper, near Koppam Harijan colony, in January 2003. Sunil Kumar, who was the RSS district seva pramukh, had also served as the district secretary of the Hindu Aikya Vedi.

    According to the Crime Branch, Sunil Kumar, local agent of Janmabhoomi newspaper, was hacked to death in front Mahadeswaram temple near Kilimanoor junction between 5.15 a.m. and 5.30 a.m.

    The seven-member hit squad had reached the spot in Toyota Qualis with fake registration plates and press stickers. All the assailants had masks and tight fitting "skull caps". One of the assailants opened the rear door of the vehicle, stepped out and hit Sunil Kumar on the shoulder with an iron pipe. The other members, who were wielding swords, chased Sunil Kumar and cut him down. The post-mortem examination report had revealed 26 cut injuries on Sunil Kumar's body. The Crime Branch reconstruction of the crime is based on interviews with eyewitnesses. Five bloodstained swords used for the murder were recovered from a nearby spot.

    Some days after the murder, a member of the cadre organisation surrendered before the Kilimanoor police at the behest of a local lawyer. He was questioned in custody but let off later after the police realised that the activist was part of a ploy to sidetrack the investigation.

    The Crime Branch subjected at least 25 vehicles matching the description and colour scheme of the van used by the assailants to forensic examination for traces of blood. But no definite lead could be obtained. More than 100 persons have so far been questioned. Crime Branch teams have been send to Tamil Nadu in connection with the investigation. "We have some definite suspects and the evidence gathering process is on", a Crime Branch official said. The agency suspects that certain persons working in the Gulf had financially assisted the operation.

    A team led by Superintendent of Police T.J. Jose and Dy.SP Muhammad Iqbal is investigating the case.