A day after a Bajrang Dal activist, K Raju (30), was hacked to death by an unidentified attacker at a tea stall in Mysuru’s Udayagiri area, the city witnessed a partial shutdown with sporadic incidents of violence. The bandh call was given by the BJP and the VHP to protest the killing of Raju, who was also known as RSS Raju. During the bandh, shops in Mandi Mohalla and Devaraja Market were allegedly vandalised and forced to down shutters. At some places, stones were hurled at buses. A two-wheeler and an auto-rickshaw were also set on fire during the protest.
The bandh, however, did not affect the conduct of pre-university exams for thousands of students from all over the region.
According to Mysuru police, Raju was attacked by an unknown person when he was near the Vinayaka tea stall around 5 pm Sunday. The attacker fled from the spot after hitting the activist with a machete. Raju was rushed to the nearby KR Hospital, but was declared dead by doctors.
On Monday, thousands of BJP supporters gathered at KR Hospital’s mortuary ahead of postmortem examination and staged a protest, demanding immediate arrest of people involved in the murder.
Local BJP leader A Ramdas and Mysuru MP Pratap Simha alleged that the Congress and CM Siddaramaiah, who hails from Mysuru, had allowed extremist Muslim outfits to grow in the region by adopting a soft attitude towards radical elements.
While the family of the murdered activist waited to take his body home for the last rites, protesters refused to allow authorities to move the body until their demands were met.
Apart from immediate arrest of the culprits, the protesters, who were led by former BJP MLA Ramdas, asked the state government to announce a compensation of Rs 25 lakh to Raju’s family and to declare a piece of land in Kyathamaranahalli as disputed property. They finally relented after the district administration granted permission for the body to be taken out in a procession to Kyathamaranahalli. As Raju’s final rites were performed at Kyathamaranahalli Monday evening, events took a violent turn with stones being hurled at police vehicles. Finally, police fired teargas shells to control the mob.
According to the police, Raju was involved in a legal battle against a mosque in his locality, which had also led to a minor clash in the Kyathamaranahalli area a few days ago. The role of Raju in the dispute and the enmity caused by it is now being looked into by the police.
“We cannot reveal the details of the investigation so far as it is too early to comment. The investigation is progressing fast and we will nab the killers soon,” said Karnataka DGP Om Prakash.
“We have picked up many people for questioning. The exact motive behind the murder will be known when arrests are made,” said an official from Mysuru’s Central Crime Branch (CCB), which is investigating the case.
With the murder leading to tension in the area, DGP Prakash said that the police was making “extra efforts to control the situation”.
“Vehicles heading to Mysuru will be thoroughly checked to avoid the entry of anti-social elements into the city,” he said.
State Home Minister G Parameshwara said: “The state government is viewing the incident seriously, but the BJP should not hold protests.”