A group of eight to 10 men, suspected to be members of right wing organisations, allegedly vandalised the office of the Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPM) in Pune and manhandled some office-bearers on Tuesday afternoon.
According to the people present at the spot, the attackers said they had come to avenge the murder of a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader in Kerala, E Manoj, hacked to death in Kannur district on Monday.
A senior Pune police officer said on condition of anonymity, “We suspect these people were members of some right wing organisation. We are yet to identify them.” Around six years ago, some members of BJP and other right wing organisations had allegedly carried out an attack after a similar incident in Kerala.
The attack on Tuesday between 2 pm and 2.30 pm took place in a building at Narayan Peth near Appa Balwant Chowk, housing offices of the CPM, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and some other trade unions.
CPM office-bearer Satish Chavan, who was present said, “Around eight to 10 persons barged into the office. One of them came forward and said that they had come to take revenge for what was done to the RSS leader in Kerala. Another man said the same thing in Hindi. And then, one of them pulled down the glass on the table and started vandalising the office. Some of them pushed me back and manhandled others.”
A CITU office-bearer Thomas Verghese said, “One of them started throwing some kind of oil everywhere, another followed suit. We feared they would set the room ablaze so we ran into the other room. By that time some people from the ground floor had started coming up. These goons fled. There were four of us in the office when the incident took place.”
Police collected samples of what looked like used engine oil. Police teams have started checking CCTV footage from cameras in the area. Deputy Commissioner of Police M B Tambade said, “The CPM people told us that they suspect involvement of right wing organisations. We are probing the case from all angles.”
CPM leader Ajit Abhyankar said, “This is the handiwork of right wing organisations like the RSS. This has happened to us in the past.” When contacted, senior RSS functionaries from Pune said the organisation was not involved in the attack. An FIR was registered against unidentified persons at Vishrambag police station.
In a press release, RSS functionary Kailas Sontakke said, “RSS has never believed in violence. The allegations are being made to defame the organisation. RSS condemns the alleged attack on the office of the communist party. Police should investigate the matter