State police move to contain RSS-PFI violence

Preventive arrests, night patrolling stepped up

Published - April 16, 2022 08:41 pm IST

Prohibitory orders and preventive arrests are in the offing as the State police on Saturday initiated a concerted and multi-pronged attempt to prevent the PFI-RSS violence in Palakkad from spinning out of control and acquiring a communal colour.

State Police Chief Anil Kant has ordered ADGP, Law and Order, Vijay Sakhare, to Palakkad. The district had witnessed back-to-back targetted slayings of a PFI and RSS worker within 24 hours. Mr. Kant has moved six armed police companies to Palakkad to reinforce the local law enforcement.

A senior official said the threat of communal discord formed the disturbing sub-text to RSS-SDPI violence.

Growing distrust between communities was the most pronounced negative consequence of such killings.

The tit-for-tat attacks in Palakkad and, Alappuzha in 2021, had invariably benefitted extreme fringe elements on either side of the social spectrum by providing the fundamentalists a foil to portray the other community as an incrementally existential threat.

Incendiary speech on social media has weaponised the tense mood. The State police have noted a torrent of communally divisive messages in the wake of the murders.

The Palakkad killings had emboldened certain groups harbouring extremist views to push the envelope of social media discourse to provoke and incite communities.

The police have warned of stringent action against those who promote online hate speech and impair communal peace.

An investigator said the fatal tit-for-tat “extremist killings” in Palakkad shared the markings of mafia-style hit-and-run operations.

It pointed to a well-entrenched criminal ecosystem of safe houses, seasoned assassins, escape vehicles, robust legal aid and strong alibis. Such gangs also profited from crime, given the political cover they enjoyed.

Trained assailants need not necessarily figure in the suspect organisation’s list of members. They are often a motley crew of motivated and predominantly low profile youth responding to local situations at the behest of their controllers. The police are trying to identify those who ordered the Palakkad killings.

Leader of Opposition V. D. Satheeshan said "Kerala is living in fear".

He alleged the RSS-PFI violence in Palakkad and earlier, Alappuzha was the direct fallout of

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s soft line towards fundamentalists. Mr Vijayan had sacrificed public peace at the altar of political expediency.

BJP State president K. Surendran said tacit police support had emboldened the PFI to target workers of nationalist organisations with impunity.

Mr. Surendran led a torchlight march to the Secretariat to protest the RSS worker’s murder.

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