Praveen BJP worker hacked to death
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has called for bandh in Kadaba, Suliya, and Puttur to protest Praveen Nettaru's killing

Yuva leader murder: BJP workers gherao party chief; Bommai holds emergency meeting

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Karnataka state BJP president Nalin Kumar Kateel and others ministers on Wednesday (July 27) faced the wrath of party workers, who, enraged over the murder of BJP Yuva Morcha worker Praveen Nettaru, accused the leaders of failing to protect their cadres.

Thirty-one-year-old Praveen, a resident of Bellary in Sullia, 87 km from the coastal town Mangaluru, was hacked to death by unidentified bike-borne assailants on Tuesday night (July 26). Enraged over the killing, party workers and pro-Hindutva activists directly blamed the government and the BJP state president for the incident, and gheraoed party workers in thousands during the funeral procession of Praveen on Wednesday.

Kateel, an MP from Mangaluru, RSS leader Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat,  ministers including Sunil Kumar and S Angara, BJP MLA Harish Poonja and other leaders faced the heat from their party’s workers while they came to pay their last respects to the deceased.

Also read: Karnataka: BJP youth wing worker hacked to death in Dakshina Kannada district

An angry mob stopped the vehicles of the leaders and did not allow Kateel’s car to move further. The mob tried to topple the car after puncturing the tyre and asked Kateel why he has come so late. Peeved over the police’s inability to pin down the killers, the protesters accused the BJP government, local MLAs and MPs for not giving protection to BJP workers even though the party is in power in the state and the Centre. In an ordeal that lasted for half-an-hour, they also asked Kateel and other leaders about action taken so far on the killings of other BJP workers and Hindutva activists.

The situation was brought under control after police resorted to lathi charge to disperse the crowd and allow vehicles of visiting leaders move safely.

Thousands pay last respects

Praveen’s funeral procession began from Puttur government hospital and went through the main roads where thousands of people had assembled to pay their last respects, and culminated at his house, 30 km from Puttur town, where the last rites were held.

Stone pelting incidents were reported at various places during the funeral procession and police controlled the situation by lathi charges. Prohibitory orders have been imposed in Puttur, Bellary and Kadaba Taluks in the Dakshina Kannada district.

Kateel later told the media that the anger of his party workers is natural. “I will communicate the feelings of the party workers to the government and ask the government to take stringent action against the accused,” he said.

En masse resignation

BJP Yuva Morcha workers in several places offered en masse resignation condemning the murder of Hindu activists. Old videos of Kateel, where he speaks about protecting BJP and Hindutva activists at any cost, at public rallies, were extensively shared on social media.

CM takes stock; no anniversary celebrations

In view of the volatile situation in the state’s coastal region and amid fears of the protests spreading to other parts, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraja Bommai, held an emergency meeting with Home Minister Araga Jnanendra, DGP Praveen Sood and other officials on Wednesday night.

The Home Minister said that the police have detained 10 suspects and a police team has left for Kerala to nab the accused. Mangaluru Police is closely working with Kasaragod Police (Kerala) to nab the assailants.

Jnanendra said the culprits will be arrested soon and the case will be handed over to National Investigation Agency (NIA) for probe.

Bommai also told reporters in a post-midnight conference that the state government has cancelled the Janothsava programme at Doddaballapur and Vidhana Soudha on Thursday, an event that would have marked its three years in office.

Earlier in the day Bommai had assured the family of the slain party worker that the culprits would be nabbed and stringent action will be taken against them.

What police say

According to the police sources, Praveen, who owned a broiler shop in his village was targeted for condemning the murder of Kanhaiah Lal, a tailor who was killed in Rajasthan’s Udaipur for supporting former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma on her comment against Prophet Muhammed.

Also read: BJP workers being killed for their ideology: Modi

Earlier it was alleged that Praveen was targeted for revenge for the murder of a youth belonging to another community four days ago. However, police said that he may have been targeted for making a strong comment on a fundamental group regarding the beheading of Kanhaiah Lal.

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