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Wednesday, Sep 28, 2022

Fazil picked up as target out of 6 names, after BJP youth leader murder: Police

As per police, Fazil's was among the names discussed by the gang following Nettaru's murder on July 26. Mangaluru Police Commissioner N Shashikumar said they were looking at who the other five names considered were.

Dakshina Kannada murders, Dakshina Kannada news, Karnataka news, Karnataka communal voilence, Dakshina Kannada violence, Masood B, Praveen Nettaru, Mohammed Fazil, ABVP protests in Dakshina Kannada, Karnataka government, Bengaluru news, The Indian ExpressThe Indian Express spoke to the families of three victims Masood B, 19, Praveen Nettaru, 32, and Mohammed Fazil who were killed in the latest cycle of violence in the region in the last 10 days. (Express photo)

Mohammed Fazil was killed as part of a conspiracy in the backdrop of the killing of BJP youth leader Praveen Nettaru, 32, with his name picked out from a list of six, the Mangaluru Police said on Tuesday.

Police have arrested six people for the murder, all of whom have criminal records in Mangaluru City and Dakshina Kannada district.

As per police, Fazil’s was among the names discussed by the gang following Nettaru’s murder on July 26. Mangaluru Police Commissioner N Shashikumar said they were looking at who the other five names considered were.

The six arrested include Suhas Shetty, 29, who has a murder and two assault cases against him; Mohan Singh alias Nepali Mohan (26), Giridhar (23), Abhishek (25) and Srinivas Katipalla (23), all of whom have two prior criminal cases against them; and Deekshit Katipalla, 21, who has three prior cases against him. Two of the men were previously associated with a local gangster in the Kodikere area who has been involved in communal assaults.

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Fazil was killed in Surathkal on the outskirts of Mangaluru city on July 28 by four men, who arrived in a car and chased him on the street before cornering him in a clothing store that he had entered to escape the attackers.

“It has emerged from our investigation that Mohammed Fazil was specifically targeted. They kept a watch over his house, identified him and then targeted him. It was not a case of mistaken identity,” Commissioner Shashikumar said.

The officer said that of the six accused, one was familiar with the victim and his movements. “He identified the victim as a target… There was a discussion about five or six other people as well and the department is carrying out investigations about the persons that the gang may have targeted.”

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The Police Commissioner said that the group first started plotting on the evening of July 26 (the same day as Nettaru was killed), “resolving to murder someone” and holding discussions over the phone. “They later met and discussed, and in this situation, a murder was committed. We cannot say whether it (the killing) was linked to any other crime. Once we investigate them in custody, all the details will emerge,” Shashikumar said.

Dakshina Kannada murders, Dakshina Kannada news, Karnataka news, Karnataka communal voilence, Dakshina Kannada violence, Masood B, Praveen Nettaru, Mohammed Fazil, ABVP protests in Dakshina Kannada, Karnataka government, Bengaluru news, The Indian Express The deceased, identified as Praveen Nettaru, was a BJP Yuva Morcha worker and owned a poultry shop. (file)

The officer said they were not ruling out the possibility of the men having personal animosity towards the people whose names were discussed as targets. “They considered where the people would be and how easily they could be targeted… They picked Mohammed Fazil as the target on the morning of July 28 and began tracking his movements.”

Shashikumar said they had their suspicions and now their task would be to establish the links of the accused and the victim. “There are some interpretations that emerge from the background of the people involved and we will present these to the court in the chargesheet.”

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Police believe Suhas Shetty, Abhishek and Mohan Singh were the main attackers. Shetty is also an accused in the May 2020 murder of an 18-year-old in Mangaluru city, and had attended court with regard to one of his cases on July 27. Together with Abhishek, he was accused in a case of an assault at a bar in Mangaluru in 2015, but later acquitted.

The highly polarised Dakshina Kannada and Mangaluru regions have a history of gangsters seeking acceptability and fame by taking up Hindutva causes and, in the process, getting political patronage.

Police are still trying to work out the murder of BJP youth leader Praveen Nettaru in Bellare village of Dakshina Kannada on July 26. Two persons allegedly linked to the Islamist PFI group have been arrested, and several people questioned in the case.

Nettaru’s killing followed the July 20 murder of a Muslim youth, Masood B, by a gang of alleged Bajrang Dal men.

First published on: 02-08-2022 at 08:18:40 pm
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