A day after the brutal murder of a BJP worker, Deepak Rao, near Surathkal in Dakshina Kannada, Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy on Thursday said it was an “organised crime” that was taking place in the coastal belt.
Condemning Rao’s murder, Mr. Reddy told presspersons that both the Popular Front of India (PFI) and the right-wing Hindutva outfits had been involved in these “organised crimes”. Four youths — Naushad, Pinky Nawaz, Rizwan, and Irshan — were arrested after a car chase within five hours of the murder, he said, and added that there was no failure on the part of the police.
“A detailed investigation alone will reveal whether the murdered person and the accused had any political affiliation,” he said, and added that there had been animosity over putting up of posters or buntings. “Rao was videographing the other group putting up posters, which the latter asked him to delete. It is said that he (Rao) did not,” said Mr. Reddy.
A couple of weeks ago, another coastal district of Uttara Kannada witnessed violent incidents following the alleged murder of a youth, Paresh Mesta. The CBI has been asked to conduct investigation into the case.
Replying to a query on intelligence failure, he said, “Sometimes, the police don’t get absolute clarity. With regard to political development like in the case of agitations where thousands of people gather, the intelligence wing gets the information and accordingly deployment is planned. But it is difficult to get specific information in the case of organised crime.”
The Minister said 19 people associated with the BJP, the RSS and the Bajrang Dal had been murdered since 2013, but in at least eight cases, the reasons were personal. Six PFI workers were killed too in the same period.
Eleven BJP or RSS or Bajrang Dal workers had been killed in confrontation with the PFI, the Home Minister said. “The rest of them were murdered owing to personal reasons related to property dispute and rivalry. Eight were indeed RSS members but the reasons were different,” he said.
Challenge to BJP
Condemning the Opposition BJP for claiming that every Hindu person murdered in Dakshina Kannada district was its worker, Mr. Reddy challenged the BJP, which is leading the NDA government at the Centre, to ban the Popular Front of India (PFI) and the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI).
“It is the prerogative of the Centre to ban any political outfit. Why did the previous BJP government not ban the PFI?” he sought to know.
Lashing out at BJP leaders’ allegations that Congress leaders were indulging in the “politics of killing people for votes”, Mr. Reddy said people were murdered in the BJP-governed States too. In the BJP-governed Haryana, 37 people were killed in the clash related to the conviction of Baba Ram Rahim of Dera Sacha Sauda. When Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the Gujarat Chief Minister, riots took place and claimed hundreds of lives,” Mr. Reddy said.