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Wednesday, Oct 05, 2022

BJP youth leader killed in Karnataka, party workers slam own state govt

Following the incident, several BJP workers expressed their anger at the state government and the party's leaders by targeting the vehicle of its state president and submitting their resignations.

An angry mob surrounds BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel’s vehicle as he arrived in Bellare village, Dakshina Kannada district, on Wednesday; (right) Praveen Nettaru, the slain BJP Yuva Morcha worker. (Images: Screengrab, Express photo)

A 32-YEAR-OLD worker of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the youth wing of the BJP, was killed in the communally sensitive Dakshina Kannada district of coastal Karnataka on Tuesday night. Following the incident, several BJP workers expressed their anger at the state government and the party’s leaders by targeting the vehicle of its state president and submitting their resignations.

According to the police, Praveen Nettaru, a resident of Bellare in Sullia taluk about 300 km from Bengaluru, was hacked to death while he was closing his poultry shop at around 8.30 pm on Tuesday. Police sources said a preliminary probe has revealed that the attackers came on two motorcycles with Kerala registration plates and hacked Praveen’s head and neck before fleeing.

In a complaint filed by an employee of Praveen’s shop, Akshaya Fresh Chicken Farm, the BJYM worker was about to leave for his residence on his two-wheeler when the attack occurred. Praveen had stepped back inside his shop to take the raincoat he had forgotten when he was hacked, the complaint stated. Praveen tried to escape but collapsed outside his shop, it stated.

The police suspect that the attack was in retaliation to another murder that took place in the district on July 19, when an eight-member team allegedly assaulted a house painter, identified as Masud, who succumbed to injuries two days later.

According to police officers, eight persons, identified as Sudhir, Sunil Kelanje, Abhilash Bellare, Jim Ranjith, Shivaprasad, Bhaskar, Ranjith and Sadashiva from Kelanje village, were arrested. Sudhir and Masud were neighbours and the accused were allegedly associated with pro-Hindutva outfits.

“No solid connection has emerged between the murdered BJP youth leader and the Masud murder that occurred last week but since the earlier murder was communal in nature, the two murders are suspected to be linked,” police sources said.

The police are also investigating whether Praveen’s killing is linked to a Facebook post on June 29, in which he wrote about a “poor tailor” being beheaded and threats to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by the killers. He was referring to the killing of Kanhaiyalal, a tailor in Rajasthan’s Udaipur, for his comments in support of BJP’s Nupur Sharma over her remarks on the Prophet.

Police sources said the manner in which Praveen was killed resembled the modus operandi employed by activists of the radical Popular Front of India (PFI) in targeted killings of pro-Hindutva activists in the Dakshina Kannada region and other parts of Karnataka in recent years.

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On Tuesday night, the police imposed prohibitory orders in Puttur, Sulya, Kadaba and Belthangady. An incident of stone pelting at a government bus was reported in the district.

On Wednesday, Karnataka BJP president and MP Nalin Kumar Kateel, state minister V Sunil Kumar and RSS leader Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat were heckled by a mob when they came to Bellare to pay their last respects to Praveen.

The workers were angered that the leaders arrived only a day later, and accused them and the BJP state government of failing to protect Hindu activists. Several BJYM workers also submitted their resignations to mark their protest against the government.

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Earlier, the workers ignored appeals from Praveen’s family members to not carry out a procession and allow them to complete the final rites. The police resorted to a lathi charge to disperse the mob.

Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said the suspects came from Kerala. “We have formed five teams headed by the SP and an investigation is underway. The police have taken 10 people into custody and we will ensure that justice is served,” he said. The Minister was speaking to reporters after holding a meeting with Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and DGP Praveen Sood.

Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) leader Shakir Alake accused the police of taking into custody “some innocent youths” in connection with the murder.

Bommai, who is all set to mark his first year as CM, said, “I strongly condemn the killing of Praveen. We will ensure that the culprits will be brought to justice.”

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This is the second incident of a pro-Hindutva activist being killed in Karnataka this year. In February, Bajarang Dal activist Harsha was murdered in Shivamogga district. The police had arrested six persons in the case, which is presently being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

First published on: 27-07-2022 at 04:46:55 pm
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