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SEVENTEEN people with affiliation to the RSS were held for the murder of a 17-year-old Class XII student in Cherthala town of Kerala’s Alappuzha district on Wednesday after he had questioned some of the accused for harassing girls at his school, the police said on Saturday.
Seven of those arrested are minors, and studied at the same school as the victim – A Ananthu, who was allegedly beaten to death near a temple on Wednesday night.
Confirming that all the arrested accused are affiliated to the RSS, Cherthala’s Deputy Superintendent of Police Y R Rastum said it was a planned murder and that Ananthu, too, had been an RSS worker until about a year ago. He used to attend the RSS shakha but stopped going there a year ago to focus on his studies, the DSP said, adding that it is not a political murder.
The police said Ananthu, and two of his friends, had questioned their classmates for harassing girls at their school in Vayalar, near Cherthala, resulting in clashes between the two groups of students in the school. Since then, the rival group had reportedly targeted Ananthu and had even tried to attack him during a recent temple festival.
On Wednesday night, the accused caught hold of Ananthu from a temple near his home in Vayalar and dragged him to a deserted area and beat him up, a police officer said.
His friends took him to hospital but the teen reportedly died on the way.
The officer said they will petition the court seeking permission to consider the minors as adults considering the gravity of the crime they had allegedly committed.
Calling it an unintentional murder, BJP’s Alappuzha district president K Soman said, “The victim had been associated with RSS until a year back. His parents are still BJP workers. At the same time, it is baseless to say that he was killed for having deserted the RSS.” He alleged that some RSS workers arrested had recently joined the Sangh from CPI(M) and CPI.”