An RSS activist, who died on July 7 after being stabbed on July 4 at his store in the coastal Karnataka town of Bantwal, had objected to sand mining activities near his home in the Kendur village of Dakshina Kannada district, police investigations have found. One of the angles that investigations by the Karnataka police into the death of Sharath Madivala, 28, is looking into is whether the RSS worker had prior record of involvement in violence of any sort.
Investigations in the Madivala case has so far looked closely into skirmishes the RSS activist had with persons involved in the illegal sand mining business and several persons have been questioned in this angle of investigation, police sources said. “The place where he lived, there was a lot of sand mining and he had complained many times about it. It was being done by persons from a rival community and he had objected to it,’’ a source said.
One of the reasons for the probe to focus on possible skirmishes Madivala could have had with illegal sand miners is the fact that the RSS activist did not have a police record or any enemies as such. The Dakshina Kannada superintendent of police C H Sudheer Kumar Reddy said the investigation was yet to reach a stage where the police could arrive at a conclusion on the identity of the attackers of the RSS worker and the motive behind the attack.
Karnataka’s director general of police Rupak Kumar Datta has stated that the police have some leads in the case but “do not want to rush and book innocent persons”. The RSS worker was stabbed while he was alone at his laundry store on the evening of July 4 by unidentified suspects who came on a motorcycle before walking up to the store and carrying out the attack.
The death of the activist on July 7 resulted in a shutdown of the Bantwal region on July 8 and incidents of stone throwing and protests involving activists from Hindu groups on July 8 during a funeral procession for the RSS worker. In the Dakshina Kannada region, the murder of Sharath Madivala is widely seen as being a possible act of retaliation for the murder of an activist of the pro-Muslim Social Democratic Party of India, Ashraf Kalayi, 33, on June 21, at Benjanapadavu in the Bantwal taluk of the district by alleged members of right-wing groups like the Bajrang Dal.