A month after CPI(M) workers raised slogans warning him that his “days are numbered”, a local Youth Congress leader was hacked to death in Kannur district late on Monday night. According to police, S P Shuhaib, 29, Youth Congress block secretary at Mattannur in Kannur district, was at a roadside eatery at Edayannur, under Mattannur police station, when he was attacked by four men around 11.30 pm on Monday.
Police said the men first hurled crude bombs, to create panic, before attacking Shuhaib with swords. According to sources, Shuhaib sustained over two dozen wounds. He was rushed to a hospital in Kozhikode, but died on the way. His friends, P P Noushad and Riyas, were also injured in the attack. “Going by the details we have so far, it appears to be a political murder. However, we are yet to identify the gang involved in the killing,’’ said Kannur SP G Siva Vikram. Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said Kannur was witnessing CPI(M)’s “red terrorism”.
“CPI(M) has taken the law in its hands. Ever since the party came to power in 2016, there have been 21 political killings in Kannur. CPI(M) does not allow any other party to function. The killing is heinous and shocking,” he said, as he asked his party workers to “maintain restraint”.
Denying the CPI(M)’s involvement, party district secretary P Jayarajan said: “The CPI(M) strongly condemns the killing. The party is not involved. We will probe, and if any worker is found to be involved, strong action will be taken against him.” Police sources said the killing followed a clash between SFI and KSU, the student outfits of CPI(M) and Congress respectively, at a higher secondary school at Edayannur, a Congress pocket in CPI(M)-ruled Keezhalloor village panchayat, about a month ago.
“The issue was taken outside the school campus by the mother parties. A group of CITU workers, the CPI(M)’s trade union wing, from nearby Chalode town went to Edayannur, where they attacked a club managed by Congress on January 12. A group of Congress workers, led by Shuhaib, confronted the CITU men, the same night,’’ said a police source.
Police registered cases against both sides. Shuhaib and two other Congress workers were arrested on charges of attempt to murder on January 12. He was sent to judicial custody but released on bail on January 27. Following the clash at Edayannur, CPI(M) workers organised a protest march on January 13, where they raised provocative slogans. Naming Shuhaib, they warned him that his “days were numbered”. While Kannur has been witnessing political killings between CPI(M) and BJP workers, this is the first time in 20 years that a Congress worker has been targeted.
Shuhaib was working in Dubai until eight months ago, when he returned home to look after his parents and three sisters. The Congress observed a dawn-to-dusk bandh in the district on Tuesday to protest against his killing.