Murder of BJP youth leader in Dakshina Kannada planned and linked to another murder, police say

Bellare (Mangalore): Late Tuesday, Praveen Nettaru, a 34-year-old Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha worker the youth wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party was stabbed to death by two assailants on bicycles.

According to the police investigation so far, Nettaru’s murder appears to have been pre-planned and linked to another alleged murder in the same village, that of 19-year-old Mohammed Masood in the troubled town of Bellare in Karnataka, ThePrint has learned.

Nettaru died on the way to the hospital. Since then, BJYM workers have been flocking to his house in a forested village to demand justice.

“It’s a planned murder,” Nuthana, Nettaru’s 31-year-old wife, told ThePrint. My husband was shadowed for days and only then did the assailants decide to kill him on Tuesday. We want to see the conspirators punished. Police have now arrested two locals, who may have made themselves available for arrest and this is to cover up the actual plot. We don’t want money or compensation, we just want justice for him.

As protests erupted over Nettaru’s death, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who visited his family on Thursday, announcement On Friday his government would hand over the case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Praveen Nettaru’s house in Bellare | Photo: Madhuparna Das | The footprint

Main sources in Karnataka Police told ThePrint that investigators have started working on booking the two suspects arrested in the case – Shafiq and Zaqir – under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Both were arrested on Thursday.

Law enforcement sources told ThePrint that during its investigation it emerged that the murder was an act of revenge and that Nettaru was murdered in retaliation for a murder that took place on July 19.

“This is a pre-planned murder, and it appears to be retaliatory in nature,” a senior police official told ThePrint on condition of anonymity. “A group was planning to assault Praveen to avenge Masood’s murder. We are still working on more details.

“It seems that the conspiracy hatched in Kerala and the people of Bellare were conscripted,” he added.

Mohammed Masood, 19, died July 21 after being attacked by a group of eight men in Kalanja in Sulia taluk.

The police officer also told ThePrint that Masood’s murder resulted from a local clash and was neither planned nor communal in nature.

The police arrested eight people in this case.

Sonawane Rishikesh, Superintendent of Police Dakshina Kannada told ThePrint: “No other arrests have been made at this time. [In Nettaru’s murder]. we are taking care of it.”

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Who is Praveen Nettaru

Praveen Nettaru was an active member of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and BJYM.

Known as an animal lover, environmental rights activist and staunch Hindutva supporter who had pictures of Ram and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the same wall, Nettaru was popular in his domain and would actively organize events.

His cousin Ranjit K, told ThePrint he owned a meat shop and received threatening phone calls about his business.

“He was the only Hindu meat shop owner because Muslims monopolize this business here. He encouraged other young Hindus to start businesses in the locality. After a few threatening calls, he verbally informed the local police station [about them].”

Nettaru had been cremated on a small plot next to his house because the family did not want to take the body to the local crematorium, his friend and party colleague Harshit Kalladka says ThePrint.

Her Facebook page is full of posts related to her love for animals, her social work and her efforts as an environmental activist.

In her yard, Jaani, her three-month-old rescue dog, howls into her petty crate. Ranjit says the dog was rescued from another village. He used to bring a lot of these strays home, Ranjit told ThePrint.

In his Facebook post on June 29, Nettaru called the government of Rajasthan “dangerous secularism” for the murder of Kanhaiya Lal Teli, a tailor beheaded in Udaipur on June 28. Since then, he has not posted anything regarding a community incident.

Police said the murder had nothing to do with this post.

“sensitive” Bellaré

Senior BJP leaders in Karnataka say Bellare is a “community sensitive” area due to its location.

It is located some 60 km from the Kerala border.

“It’s near the Kerala border and PFI is the dominant force here. In Dakshina Kannada district, there have been at least 10 killings of BJP or RSS workers in the past six years. All are communal in nature. We have asked our workers to become more vigilant and guard the villages,” said Sudarshan Mudbitri, the district chairman of the BJP.

When ThePrint visited Masood’s house — 8 km from Nettaru’s — his mother Saramma said police visited the family in connection with Nettaru’s death.

Mohammed Masood's mother and brothers at their home in Bellare |  Photo: Madhuparna Das |  The footprint
Mohammed Masood’s mother and brothers at their home in Bellare | Photo: Madhuparna Das | The footprint

The police have visited us several times to investigate Praveen’s death and see if any of us are connected or involved in his murder, but we have no idea who he was and who was arrested,” he said. she declared.

Meanwhile, Nettaru’s killing has sparked resentment among local BJP workers, who call their top leadership’s reaction to the incident “insensitive”.

The murder has would have leads to a wave of the resignations of BJYM members, who accuse the BJP government of Karnataka of failing to protect its own cadres.

This anger spread during the visit of Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel to the village on June 27. A crowd of enraged locals surrounded his car and began pushing it, forcing the police to resort to the lathicharge.

A local BJP leader and a colleague from Nettaru told ThePrint, “It took more than 24 hours for BJP State Chairman and Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel to come to the village. The workers were restless and they shook his car. They didn’t touch him. But, in such a sensitive situation, the police (resorted to) the charge of lathi.

BJYM National President Tejasvi Surya, who met the family on Friday, said blame the “jihadist mentality” for the murder of Nettaru.

(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)

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