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Political violence returns to Kerala as Congress leader is killed

Congress leaders allege that the Communist Party of India Marxist was behind the crime, but the CPM denies any role in the murder

Gulf News

Thiruvananthapuram: A young Congress leader was murdered in Kerala and political skirmishes were reported from elsewhere in the state on Tuesday as political violence seemed to return to haunt the state.

S.P. Shuhaib, 29, a Youth Congress leader and the organisation’s Mattannoor block secretary, was murdered late on Monday night. Congress leaders alleged that the Communist Party of India Marxist was behind the crime, but the CPM denied any role in the murder.

However, a video that surfaced on social media, which showed some participants in a CPM rally shouting. “your days are numbered”, added to the Congress party’s suspicion that the CPM was behind the killing.

The United Democratic Front called for a hartal (stoppage of work) in Kannur district on Tuesday to protest Shuhaib’s killing.

Shuhaib was having dinner at a wayside joint in Therur on Monday night when the assailants, reportedly wearing masks, arrived in a new vehicle that is yet to be registered, and hacked him to death. Eye witnesses said the four-member gang that hacked Shuhaib had first hurled country bombs to scare away onlookers before attacking Shuhaib.

Shuhaib was rushed to a private hospital in Kannur and then moved to another hospital in Kozhikode but he died on the way at Thalassery. Four bystanders who were injured in the incident were admitted to a hospital in Thalassery.

Shuhaib had been remanded in custody in connection with a recent clash between Congress and CPM cadres, and had been released only recently.

In another incident of political violence, miscreants hurled stones at the office of the area committee of the CPM in Kanjirapally in Kottayam district, shattering window panes. It is believed that explosives were also thrown at the office. CPM leaders accused the Rashtriya Swayamsevvak Sangh of masterminding the attack.