Some of the top BJP leaders from coastal Karnataka were gheraoed and heckled by angry party activists at Bellare in Dakshina Kannada on Wednesday when they arrived to pay their respects to their Yuva Morch Committee member, 32-year-old Praveen Nettaru, who was murdered at Nettaru on Tuesday night.
The leaders were forced to flee from the scene as activists banged on and shook the car of party president and Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel. Minister for Energy and Kannada and Culture V. Sunil Kumar and Fisheries Minister S Angara also faced the wrath of party activists.
Slogans against leaders
Soon after the body arrived at Bellare where it was kept for public viewing, Mr. Kateel, Mr. Kumar, Mr. Angara and senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh functionary Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat offered their last respects. Then angry mourners raised slogans against Mr. Kateel and other leaders for ignoring party workers like Praveen and expressed their anguish over continued murders of right-wing activists.
As the activists started to heckle Mr. Kateel and other right-wing organisation functionaries, they soon left the place by another car. The activists saw the official car of Mr. Kateel, banged it and also shook it before police intervened to allow vehicles of Mr. Kateel and others to move.
Activists then assembled near a mosque and began pelting stones, at which point police resorted to lathi-charge to disperse them.
Terming the angry reaction of party activists as “usual response” following the loss of a dedicated activist, Mr. Kateel said there was no question of BJP ignoring its workers. “We are all with family members of the deceased in this time of grief. We will work towards getting justice for him and there will be no politics in this,” he said. “The Central and the State governments are capable of taking action against fundamentalist forces from Kerala and others who are suspected to be involved in this murder,“ he said.
Mr. Kumar said the murder of Praveen was “not an attack on an individual but an attack on ideology”, which is happening across the country. “The police have already taken nine persons into custody. Senior police officers are in Dakshina Kannada for investigation. Steps are being taken to ensure that the perpetrators of the murder will get punishment,” he said.
VHP South Karnataka Regional Joint Secretary Sharan Pumpwell said Praveen’s murder should be investigated by National Investigation Agency.
Letter to Home Ministry
Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shobha Karandlaje has written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah seeking NIA probe into the murder of Praveen Nettaru. She pointed out that the assailants were on a Kerala-registered bike and alleged that they could be activists of PFI and SDPI.