BeyondHeadlines Special Correspondent
PUNE : In what seems to be a revenge attack for the killing of a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader in Kerala on Monday, activists of the right-wing group allegedly attacked the Pune office of the Left party, the Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPI-M) on Tuesday afternoon.
The RSS is the ideological mentor of the BJP, which swept the national election in May. CPI (M) office bearers said around 2.30 pm RSS members forced their way into the city office and hurled and broke furniture. They attackers also allegedly brought oil cans and spilt oil in the office which damaged some documents. Shards of broken glass and wrecked furniture parts lay strewn across the small office located on the second floor of a building near Appa Balwant Chowk in Narayan Peth. The building also houses offices of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and several other unions.
They allegedly declared they were exacting revenge for Monday’s killing of RSS leader E Manoj in the Kannur district of Kerala. Bombs were thrown at his van and then a group of people attacked him with swords. A murder case has been registered against six people, all allegedly affiliated to the CPI (M), the police said. The killing took place as BJP President Amit shah visited Kerala where the party has failed for decades to make any inroads. A strike called on Tuesday in Kerala by the BJP and RSS to protest against the murder forced the state into shutdown.
Satish Chavan, a senior CPI (M) members who were present in the office at the time of the attack, said,” one of the attackers told us ‘what you have done to our member in Kerala is not right. We will take revenge, we will come again’.”
Kiran Bhandari, an eyewitness said, “There were about 10 to 12 persons and six of them came inside and started banging the coffee machines and an earthenpot. They broke the glass tables and damaged the office board and also threw engine oil all over the office.”
CPI (M) leader Ajit Abhyankar said, “The vandals threatened to wipe out the party’s (CPI-M) existence. This is the third attack on our office since 2008 by the RSS-affiliated groups. We will seek police protection for the office.”
CPI (M)’s Pune district committee secretary Milind Sahasrabuddhe said, “Police must arrest the culprits soon. They are emboldened by the 100 days of Narendra Modi in office. We suspect that the attackers were RSS members.”
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone I) M.B. Tambde told BeyondHeadlines, “Investigations are on to nab the accused. However we are to identify the persons who were involved in the incident. We are also analysing CCTV footage of the area.”
When asked about police protection demand by CPI (M), Tambde added, “If we get a request from them, we will certainly provide police protection.”
In a press statement, RSS leader Kailash Sontakke said, “We have nothing to do with attack on CPI (M) office in Pune. We condemn the attack. We condemn the attack. The police must bring the culprit to book. CPI (M) members are taking name of RSS to malign its image,” he added.