Third murder in coastal Karnataka in 8 days: Muslim youth stabbed to death

Police investigate the location where the 23-year-old Muslim man was killed. | Photos: ANI

Three killings in Karnataka have taken a communal turn and the police are on high alert. 

Basil Islam | 

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NEW DELHI — On the evening of July 28, Thursday, a Muslim youth was stabbed to death by unidentified assailants in Surathkal of Mangaluru city. The brutal attack occurred amid the presence of the chief minister Basavaraj Bommai in the district following the killing of BJP youth wing leader Praveen Nettaru on Tuesday night. 

While the city police continue the search for the attackers, many fear that the state might take another communal turn after the hijab ban, with the third murder in the coastal district of Dakshin Karnataka.

Fazil Mohammad, 23, was talking to an acquaintance when three assailants stepped out of a Hyundai car and attacked him in front of a dress shop in the town. CCTV footage showed the men attacking Fazil, their faces covered with monkey caps. He was repeatedly hit with a stick and stabbed. Even while the nearby shop owners tried to stop the attackers by throwing bags and stands, they continued to hit him.

The city police sent out prohibitory orders banning large gatherings and Section 144 CrPC was imposed at Surathkal, Mulki, Bajpe, and Panambur. The order will be in place till July 30. Police commissioner N Shashi Kumar told the media that all schools and colleges are to remain closed to avoid untoward incidents. Special checkposts have been set up in the city and across the Kerala-Karnataka border to stop attackers from escaping the city.

The motive for the murder couldn’t be evidentially established by the police but is suspected to be indirectly linked to the murder of Praveen Nettaru, a BJP worker in the district’s Sullia region on July 26. Police have arrested two men in connection with Nettaru’s murder. 

SDPI district president Muhammed Kulai has accused the RSS of the killing. “Fazil was a very helpful person and was not involved with any organizations. This happened when even the CM and other MLAs were in place,” Kulai told reporters. But the police commissioner has said that there is no preliminary information regarding the motive for the killing.

Condemning the killing, Karnataka Home Minister Araga Gyanendra said that the attackers would be punished. “Additional police personnel had been deployed to maintain law and order. Prohibitory orders have been enforced in six police stations. Anyone who tries to take the law into their hands will be prosecuted,” he told PublicTV news channel.

Basil Islam is an independent journalist and researcher based in South India. He tweets at @baasiie