Kannur: Kerala had been holding fairly peaceful elections for a long while. However, the polls held for the 15th Kerala Legislative Assembly on Tuesday witnessed violence, though sporadic, in a few parts of the state.
A 22-year-old Youth League activist, who was seriously injured in a post-poll clash between workers of the CPI(M) and the IUML in Koothuparamba constituency in the northern Kannur district, died in the early hours of Wednesday.
IUML leaders alleged that CPI(M) workers are behind the brutal killing of the young man named Mansoor.
According to local witnesses, a group of people waylaid Manusur and his brother Muhsin, a UDF poll agent, near their home and hurled bombs at them before attacking the youth with sharp weapons.
Muhsin, who also sustained serious injuries, was rushed to the private hospital in Kozhikode. A woman, who suffered hearing impairment due to the sound of the explosion, has been admitted to the Thalassery District Hospital.
The clash broke out in Paral area around 8 pm on Tuesday over allegations of bogus voting, the police said.
"They attacked me after asking and confirming my name. My brother was injured when he tried to stop them from attacking me," Muhsin told a television channel from the hospital on Wednesday.
Abdullah, their father, also said his sons were attacked by the assailants in front of his eyes.
Though the attackers had targeted Muhsin, the younger son was killed when he tried to stop their bid against his brother, he added.
Mansoor had suffered injuries to his leg and was rushed to a private hospital in Kozhikode. He succumbed to the injuries. The murdered youth's body will be taken to Koothuparamba today after postmortem at the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital.
(Youth League is a frontal organisation of the IUML or the Indian Union Muslim League, the second major party in the Congress-led United Democratic Front.)
The UDF has announced a hartal in Koothuparamba Assembly constituency in protest against the attack.
Police have taken Shinos, a CPI(M) activist and Mansoor's neighbour, into custody in connection with the incident.
While IUML alleged that the ruling CPI(M) was behind the killing of Mansur, the Left party dismissed the charge and took a stand that it was not a political murder.
However, putting the ruling party in a fix, police on Wednesday said it was suspected to be a political murder and said more than 10 people might be involved in the incident.
Kannur district police chief R Ilango, who visited the crime scene, said investigation is going on and the prime focus is to nab all the accused at the earliest.
"We suspect it to be a political murder. The investigation is going on and so we cannot come to a final conclusion at this stage. We are probing the conspiracy angle also," he told reporters here.
The officer also said a special investigation team would be constituted to probe the case.
UDF leaders slam CPI(M)
Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala and senior IUML leader P K Kunhalikutty lashed out at CPI(M) over the crime.
"CPI(M) is unleashing violence across the state out of fear of failure in the assembly polls. The UDF workers are facing threat in many places. The Youth League activist' murder is condemnable. The Left party should be ready to end violence," Chennithala said at Haripad.
Terming Mansur's murder as a "pre-planned" one, Kunhalikutty said there were reports that one of the attackers had put a social media post hours before the murder that the IUML would remember this day forever, giving indications to the henious act.
However, CPI(M) acting secretary A Vijayaraghavan denied that it was a political murder.
Koothuparamba assembly constituency in the northern Kerala district of Kannur witnessed a fierce contest between K P Mohanan of the Lok Janatantrik Dal, a partner of the ruling CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF), and Pottankandy Abdullah of the IUML.
Sporadic violence across the state
Sporadic incidents of violence were reported from some other parts of the state too in the wake of the assembly polls.
Thiruvananthapuram: A Congress worker was injured in clashes over not letting the Congress candidate enter the Kochuthura booth in Kovalam.
Kollam: Skirmishes were reported after BJP workers prevented Kottarakkara LDF candidate K N Balagopal's car, with party flag, from entering the premises of a school where polling was held. Four of a family, who turned up to vote at Chavara,complained that they were attacked by CPM activists. A dispute also ensued after people were brought in a mini bus at Kottukadu in Chavara.
A group of men attacked BJP leader Rathi Rajan's house by throwing stones and crackers. The BJP leader alleged that CPI(M) workers were behind the attack.
Pathanamthitta: UDF and LDF workers got into skirmishes at a polling booth at the Vallamkulam National High School in the Aranmula constituency on Tuesday afternoon. The Thiruvalla police took five UDF workers into custody. UDF candidate K Sivadasan Nair visited the spot but the LDF workers prevented him from entering the booth.
It is also alleged LDF candidate Veena George was heckled by the UDF workers at Aranmula.
"A few people stopped my vehicle and verbally abused me as I was returning after visiting the polling booths, 93 and 94, at the Arattupuzha government UP school, Veena George said.
Kottayam: The LDF workers tried to manhandle UDF booth agent V R B Nair who questioned bogus voting at booth number 67 at the Muttambalam Public Library. The LDF men also allegedly assaulted the UDF booth agent at Thirambuzha.
Idukki: A complaint that the panchayat member tried to influence the voters, who were standing in queue at Vallakkadavu in Vandiperiyar, led to a conflict. The CPM workers allegedly manhandled Rosapookandam Congress ward secretary Sabu George, 47, in Kumaly.
Alappuzha: The CPM workers allegedly tried to manhandle UDF candidate K S Manoj who questioned LDF workers who were found distributing voters' slip at the SL Puram school in Kanjikuzhi. The police intervened and removed the CPM activists from the spot.
Three booths of the UDF at 108th booth in Punnapra south were found to be destroyed on Wednesday morning. A 76-year-old woman, the mother of UDF agent Santhosh Kumar, was injured in the clashes at the booth number 10 of the Kuppappuram government high school. The woman, Rudrani, suffered injuries to her head as she tried to save Santhosh Kumar as LDF workers tried to beat up her son.
Piravom: A UDF-LDF clash was also reported at Kizhumuri in Ramamangalam. Local UDF leaders alleged their polling agent Shajan Kalasagar, 45, was beaten up. An injured Shajan is undergoing treatment at the Piravom taluk hospital. UDF workers also held a dharna at the Ramamangalam police station, demanding the arrest of the culprits. However, CPM local secretary Sumit Surendran said that it was Congress functionaries who attacked them.