BJP Tamil Nadu unit general secretary V Ramesh was hacked to death by unidentified assailants near his house in Salem town of Tamil Nadu on Friday night, police said.
The 52-year-old Ramesh alias Auditor Ramesh was attacked with sharp-edged weapons and he died on the spot, they said.
Meanwhile, special task force has been formed to inquire about Ramesh’s murder and the party has called for a State-wide bandh on July 22 to protest the murder.
Protesters, meanwhile, set on fire five Government buses to protest the incident even as authorities declared a holiday for schools in the city.
Salem range Police DIG Sanjay Kumar said the BJP leader had gone to his office to discuss party affairs around 9 PM and was attacked by four persons while returning to his residence.
A case has been registered, police said. Talking to reporters, BJP State unit President Pon Radhakrishnan accused the State Government of not providing security to his party leaders. Condemning the murder, he claimed in the last one year, three State-level leaders– Arun Reddy, P Murugan and Velliyan– were murdered and the culprits were still at large.
He alleged that police had not taken action on their pleas to provide protection to partymen.
A BJP release said party activists would stage a demonstration in Chennai on Saturday condemning the murder and seeking speedy action to trace the assailants and a probe. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had called and enquired about the murder, he said, adding, a State-wide bandh has been called on Monday to condemn the murder.
Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Swaraj pointed out that this was the third such incident in the State involving a senior party functionary.
Swaraj said Government must apprehend those behind the ‘brutal’ murder.
National spokesperson Nirmala Seetharaman said BJP leaders in the State were being attacked in a ‘planned manner’ and said not all the accused in the case pertaining to planting a pipe bomb in senior leader LK Advani’s yatra route in 2011 have been apprehended so far.
She demanded that the state government set up a Special Investigation Team to probe each of the attacks on party leaders in the state and called for upholding peace and law and order.
Anguished over the killing, BJP activists staged protest in Chennai demanding immediate arrest of those responsible for the murder.
Salem range Police DIG Sanjay Kumar said the BJP leader had gone to his office to discuss party affairs around 9 pm and was attacked by four persons while returning to his residence.
Meanwhile, Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy demanded that the State Government appoint a Special Investigation Team to probe the recent killings of leaders of Hindu outfits.
A report from Coimbatore said tight security cover has been thrown in and around the city on Saturday, following the murder of Ramesh. More than 50 per cent shops and commercial establishments were closed in nearby Tirupur, fearing trouble.
About 1,000 police personnel were posted to keep vigil in sensitive areas and 33 patrol vehicles were also deployed, police said. Similarly, closure of shops were also reported in Avanashi and Palladam, and some BJP workers were arrested for trying to block roads in Tirupur district.
In Kumbakonam, 13 BJP workers were taken into custody for staging demonstration.
The body of Ramesh was cremated at Hasthampatty in Salem in the presence of large number of people from different walks of the society.
Among those who paid their last respects included senior BJP Venkaiah Naidu.
Naidu asked the Government to take steps book the culprits behind the murder and ensure such incidents would not occur.
(With inputs from agencies)