A day after two Youth Congress workers were killed in Kerala, police on Monday arrested two persons even as a dawn-to-dusk statewide shutdown called by the Congress youth wing affected life in the state. While the Congress has hinted at CPI-M's hand behind Sunday's killings, the ruling party has denied any involvement. There has been rising animosity between the youth wings of the two parties in Kasargode where the killings occurred.
Krupesh, 19, and Joshy, 24, were hacked to death by three men who came on motorcycles. While Krupesh died at the Kasargode district hospital, Joshy succumbed to his injuries on his way to a medical facility in Mangaluru, Karnataka. The authorities have got in touch with the Karnataka Police over the case.
Skirmishes between shutdown supporters and the police were reported from many places on Monday. Youth Congress demonstrators reportedly stoned state-owned buses and forcibly closed down shops in some areas. However, shops in Thiruvananthapuram district were open ahead of the Attukal Pongala festival to be held on Wednesday.
At a few places, private vehicles were stopped by the protestors but traffic plied smoothly in other areas. Meanwhile, the Kerala High Court on Monday took suo motu cognizance against those who called the shutdown as it violated the court's directives.
On January 7, a Division Bench of Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice A.K. Jayasankaran Nambiar had passed an interim order which said that any group which wishes to call a shutdown should give seven days' notice. The court has served notices to state Youth Congress President Dean Kuriakose and two other party workers in Kasargode. The three have been asked to appear before the court on Friday.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi earlier tweeted: "The brutal murder of two members of our Youth Congress family is shocking. The Congress stands in solidarity with the families of these two young men and I send them my deepest condolences. We will not rest till the murderers are brought to justice." The Kasargode district CPI-M leadership denied any link with the killings. CPI-M state Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan condemned the murders and said that if any party member was found involved, he should be named as an accused.
Top Congress leaders, including state unit chief Mullapally Ramachandran, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala and General Secretary K.C. Venugopal paid their respects to the deceased. Kasargode police chief A. Sreenivas said a special team had been formed to probe the incident.
(With inputs from agencies.)