Kanhangad: The police have arrested three activists of the Muslim Youth League, the youth wing of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), in connection with the murder of DYFI worker Abdul Rahman Auf.
The arrested persons are Irshad (26), municipal secretary of Youth League; Ashir (24) and Hassan (23), who is a member of Muslim Students' Federation (MSF), the students' organization of IUML. All three were presented before the First Class Judicial Magistrate Court, Hosdurg and remanded.
Meanwhile, the police let off another Youth League worker it had initially taken into custody, realizing his non-involvement in the murder. In another development, the investigation into the case has been taken over by the Kannur unit of Crime Branch.
Irshad was taken into custody from a private hospital in Mangaluru, where he was undergoing treatment and was admitted to the General Hospital, Kasaragod after he complained of physical discomfort. The Hosdurg court later directed the police to shift him to Pariyaram Medical College.
'A political murder'
At the same time, Kasaragod district police chief D Shilpa confirmed that Auf's killing was an act of political murder. "The incident was a continuation of the tensions that existed between Muslim League and DYFI in the area," she said. DYFI is the youth wing of CPM.
A deep injury to the aorta had caused Auf's death, she added.
Munavarali visits Auf's house
In an effort to defuse the tense situation, Kerala state president of Youth League Munavarali Shihab Thangal visited Auf's house and expressed condolences. "We are extremely saddened by the murder and understand the grief of the family. Those involved in the incident will have no place in the party," he said.
Munavarali reached Auf's house on the instructions of IUML state president Hyderali Shihab Thangal.
"Muslim League neither supports murder nor protects those involved in such acts. Two years ago, Youth League took out a procession against political violence," Munavarali said.
Taking a dig at the LDF government, he also said that Kerala had witnessed efforts to protect the accused in political murders spending public money.
Local League leaders were not allowed by Auf's relatives to proceed to the house and Munavarali got down from the vehicle and walked.
Pinarayi blasts League
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan launched a scathing attack on IUML. "Muslim League does not have a freehold right over the Muslim community," he said while speaking at a meeting in Thalassery on the anniversary of the Communist Party's Parapram Conclave.
Replying to the IUML's allegation that Pinarayi had turned communal, the chief minister said, "How do you become communal if you question the IUML's improper political actions?" He also warned IUML against playing a "special card" to recover its lost political ground.
Interestingly, Pinarayi also praised Mullappally Ramachandran, president of the Kerala unit of the Congress, to attack League. "It was Mullappally who tried to implement the policy of the national leadership of the Congress in the state opposing an alliance with Jama'at-e-Islami. However, IUML wanted Mullappally removed from the post for expressing this opinion. When I questioned such policies of the IUML, they accused me of being communal," said Pinarayi.
He also pointed out that there was opposition within Muslim League itself to P K Kunhalikutty's return to state politics.