A Bharatiya Janata Party worker, Praveen Poojary (29), was beaten to death with steel rods allegedly by activists of the Hindu Jagrana Vedike (HJV) for transporting cattle at Karjike in Udupi district on Wednesday night.
Poojary was a former president of the BJP committee of Kenjur village. Akshaya Devadiga (20), who was with Poojary in the same vehicle, was injured in the attack.
According to the police, they were transporting four cows from a house at Muddur in a van towards Udupi when they were stopped by a group of 20 HJV activists around 8.30 p.m.
Despite Poojary’s pleadings that he was only hired to transport the animals, the attackers did not relent, claiming he was taking the cows to an abattoir, the police said.
One of the attackers is believed to have taken the van with the cattle and abandoned it at nearby place. The local police, who were informed of the incident, rushed the two to a hospital, where Praveen succumbed to his injuries. Eighteen persons have been arrested on charges of murder and assault. Among the accused is Aravind, convener of the Udupi district unit of Hindu Jagrana Vedike.