PFI local leader hacked to death in front of his father in Kerala

A local leader of the right-wing Popular Front of India (PFI) was hacked to death in front of his father in Kerala’s Palakkad district on Friday. A Subair, 44, who was the PFI area president at Elappully, was murdered minutes after he emerged from a local masjid after Friday prayers along with his father.

The PFI said an RSS-BJP gang was behind the murder, an allegation denied by the BJP leadership. However, indicating the retaliatory nature of the murder, Palakkad superintendent of police R Vishwanadh said a car abandoned by the assailants at the spot of the attack was “prima facie found registered in the name of RSS mandal boudhik pramukh S Sanjith, ” who was hacked to death allegedly by members of the PFI and its political wing, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), last year. It was exactly five months back, on November 15, that Sanjith was hacked to death in the same village.

The police said Subair, who was also a local SDPI leader, was returning home from the mosque along with his father Aboobacker when their motorcycle was hit by a car head-on. Subair and his father, who was riding pillion, fell on the road, meters away from the mosque. Suddenly, a gang of assailants emerged from another car and hacked Subair multiple times and fled the scene. A local resident rushed Subair to the district hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The gang abandoned the car that hit the motorcycle at the spot.

Vishwanadh said the police had started an investigation on the basis of the statement of Aboobacker, who indicated Subair had faced political enmity from the RSS.

“However, at this stage, we cannot say whether it is a political murder or not. Only after arresting the assailants could the motive be ascertained. They seem to have moved to the nearby state (Tamil Nadu), ” said the superintendent of police.

Vishwanadh said all steps had been taken to prevent retaliatory attacks and further violence. Special control rooms will be opened and night patrolling intensified, he added.

PFI state president CP Muhammed Basheer said the RSS was behind the murder. “The conspiracy behind the murder is clear. By killing a local PFI leader, the RSS wants to foment communal trouble. During the Ram Navami celebration, the RSS unleashed attacks on Muslims. In Palakkad they also raised provocative statements. The RSS targeted a man who came out of a mosque. Everyone should protest against RSS terrorism, ” said the PFI state chief.

However, BJP Palakkad district president KM Haridas said neither the BJP nor any Sangh Parivar organization had a role in the murder. “The murder is part of a PFI-SDPI conspiracy to destroy peace in the district. BJP workers have no role in it. We will not allow the PFI-SDPI to foist the murder on Sangh Parivar organizations, ” said the BJP leader.

There is a stark similarity between the killings of PFI worker Subair and RSS activist Sanjith. Subair was attacked in the presence of his father whereas Sanjith was targeted in the presence of his wife. In both cases, the victims were riding motorcycles, which were hit by cars.

The police have sounded an alert across the state. In December last year, after an SDPI state leader, KS Shan, was killed in Alappuzha, a BJP state leader, Ranjith Sreenivasan, was killed in a retaliatory murder within the span of 12 hours in the same district.

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