State-wide hartal to protest RMP leader's murder



Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress-led ruling UDF is observing a state-wide dawn to dusk hartal on Saturday to protest the murder of Revolutionary Marxist Party leader and expelled CPI(M) member TP Chandrasekharan at Kozhikode last night.

Chandrasekharan (50) was attacked and killed by unidentified assailants at Vallikkad near Vatakara in Kozhikode district.

The assailants who came by car attacked him while he was riding a motorcycle alone. Country-made bombs were hurled at him and when he fell off the motorcycle, he was hacked to death with sharp weapons.

Chandrasekharan began his political career as an activist of CPI(M)'s campus wing SFI. He later became a whole-timer of the party in its stronghold.

He was once known as a supporter of senior leader VS Achuthanandan and was said to have incurred the wrath of the faction loyal to the party state Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan.

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Home Minister Thiruvanchur Radhakrishnan were among those who condemned the murder. Chandy is expected to arrive at Kozhikode later today.

Union Minister of State for Home Mullapally Ramachandran and socialist Janata Democratic leader MP Veerendra Kumar have also condemned the murder.

Radhakrishnan told reporters in Kozhikode a special team has been constituted to probe the murder and that government would leave no stone unturned to ensure that those responsible are brought to book.

"A detailed enquiry will be conducted to nab those behind the murder. Kannur DIG S Sreejith is supervising the probe. Immediately after the incident, a special team led by a circle inspector was constituted. But it is not a permanent solution," he said after visiting Calicut Medical College Hospital to pay homage to Radhakrishan, whose body has been kept there.

He also said the government would not interfere in the probe.

Meanwhile, sporadic incidents of violence were reported in and around Onchiyam village. However, a strong police force has been posted at all vulnerable places in the district, official sources said.

Condemning the murder, KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala told reporters that the hartal call given will be revoked in Malappuram district alone from afternoon since a protest rally is being organised there by Muslim League,

Stating that CPI(M) leaders are 'remaining silent' when such a dastardly act has taken place, he refuted the claim of opposition parties linking the incident with the coming bypoll at Neyyattinkara. What has the attack got to do with the bypoll?" he asked.

Leader of Opposition VS Achuthanandan condoled the death of Chandrasekharan, who he described as a 'fearless communist' and demanded the immediate arrest of those responsible.

He said no action had been taken to provide protection to Chandrasekharan despite him having informed the Chief Minister and Union minister of state for home about the threat to his life.

PTI