Kerala is at the throes of another bandh, the second in two months, after the murder of two Youth Congress workers in Kasaragod district’s Periya on Sunday night. While the Congress had initially invoked the hartal within the jurisdiction of the district, it was expanded soon to the state considering the nature of the attack.
Kripesh and Sarath Lal were travelling by a motorcycle when they were waylaid by an unidentified gang around 8:30 PM at Kaliyot near Periya. The duo were reportedly attacked with sharp weapons, following which Kripesh died on the spot. Sarath Lal passed away while being taken to a hospital in Mangalore for advanced treatment. Read in Malayalam
The Opposition Congress put the blame squarely on the ruling CPM, alleging that the attack was carried out at the behest of the local CPM leadership. Dean Kuriakose told the Indian Express that the attack was orchestrated by the CPM.
Mullappally Ramachandran, the state Congress Chief, temporarily stopped his Janamaha Yatra through the state after the attack. He demanded an answer from chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who also holds the Home portfolio. He alleged that the murders pointed to the Stalinist side of the ruling party.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi also condemned the murder of the workers.
The brutal murder of two members of our Youth Congress family in Kasargod, Kerala is shocking. The Congress Party stands in solidarity with the families of these two young men & I send them my deepest condolences. We will not rest till the murderers are brought to justice.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) February 18, 2019
Both Kripesh and Sarath had been involved in an earlier attack on a CPM worker and their murders now are seen to be retaliatory.
Due to the late call of the hartal, many in the state were not aware of the bandh. The model exams, a precursor to the SSLC exams, have been postponed.