Deepak Rao, a member of the BJP’s IT cell in Dakshin Kannada, was allegedly murdered by four Muslim men in Katipalla town of the state. Reports have claimed that this murder was a culmination of a dispute regarding putting up of religious decorations. This dispute had led to simmering tension between the ‘majority’ and ‘minority’ community.
Deepak was murdered in broad daylight at about 1:30 PM on Wednesday, when his bike was abruptly stopped by a car with the assailants, who then attacked him with sharp weapons, as a result of which he died.
Initial reports claimed that Deepak was a member of the Bajarang Dal. But since then the BJP had clarified that he was a BJP volunteer and not part of any Hindu groups.
Soon after the murder, the Mangalore police arrested four men in connection with the killing, with one of them being named Pinky Nawaz.
This murder has devastated Deepak’s mother who claimed that her innocent son wanted to go abroad for work, but it was she who stopped him. Deepak was the sole breadwinner for his family and supported his 55 year old mother and his 24 year old brother who is mute. He used to work as an executive in a mobile SIM card distribution company.
As a result of this incident, tension spread in the region which is known to be communally sensitive. On Thursday, thousands turned-up at his cremation ceremony which took place at a Hindu burial ground, in town.
In recent days Karnataka has had to bear witness various such murders of Hindus, including BJP and RSS workers.
We had recently reported how a poor 21 years old boy named Paresh Mesta was brutally murdered and extreme torture was inflicted upon him after he was most likely trying to escape stone pelting in Karnataka’s Honnavar town.
In June of last year, Bandi Ramesh, a BJP leader was hacked to death in the outskirts of Bellary. As per the report, he and four others were having a lunch at a dhaba, when seven-eight people attacked him with machetes. He died on the spot.
In July, a RSS worker was stabbed by unknown assailants at Bantwal in Dakshina Kannada district. He succumbed to his injuries three days later.
In October, 2016, an RSS activist was murdered in broad daylight on Bengaluru’s Kamaraj road. He was caught up by two men while he was returning from a RSS route march. About a couple of months later it was reported that Asim Sheriff, a leader associated with Popular Front of India (PFI), a radical Islamist organisation, was arrested in connection with this murder.
With the murder of Hindu leaders happening with such frequency, it might raise the question whether Karnataka is on route towards becoming the next Kerala, a state which is become infamous for such murders.