Salem/Chennai: A Special Investigation Division (SID) of Tamil Nadu Police on Monday began its probe into the brutal murder of a senior BJP leader here even as a state-wide bandh called by the party to protest the killing evoked mixed response.
A day after Chief Minister Jayalalithaa directed the setting up of the SID under the Crime Branch, a special team headed by CB-CID IGP Manjunatha and comprising SP Arul among others commenced the investigation in Salem into the killing of BJP state unit General Secretary V Ramesh, police said.
The team, after holding discussions with Salem Police Commisioner K C Mahali and Range DIG Sanjay Kumar, visited the house of Ramesh hacked to death by a gang on July 19.
Police had yesterday released sketches of suspects involved in the murder which has evoked condemnation from various political parties.
Barring stray incidents of stone-pelting, the dawn-to-dusk bandh passed off peacefully, police said. Police had beefed up security to ensure maintainance of law and order.
Shops and commercial establishments remained shut in parts of Tirupur, Erode, Coimbatore, Nagapattinam, Kanyakumari and Puducherry, where BJP has considerable influence, but life remained unaffected in other parts of the state, including Chennai.
BJP workers held protests at many places demanding arrest of the assailants who hacked to death 52-year old Ramesh.
Police said they took into custody more than 4,000 agitators for staging demonstrations and blocking roads.
In Coimbatore, tension prevailed in NGGO Colony near suburban Thudiyalur when a petrol bomb hurled by miscreants targetting a government-run bus fell near a place of worship.
State BJP President Pon Radhakrishnan announced a condolence meeting would be held in Salem on August 1 and it would be attended by senior party leader L K Advani among others.
Heeding to the calls for protection to leaders of Hindu outfits, Madurai Police extended special security cover to eight BJP functionaries and also offices of Sangh parivar outfits in the temple city.
Besides the offices of BJP, VHP and Hindu Munnani, security had also been provided at the Ramakrishna Mutt and Sankara Mutt, police said.