Chennai, July 20 (IANS) V. Ramesh, Bharatiya Janata Party's state general secretary, was hacked to death in a Tamil Nadu town Friday night, prompting BJP Saturday to demand a probe by a retired judge and to call for a state-wide general strike Monday to protest his murder.
Soft spoken Ramesh, 52, a practicing chartered accountant, was killed near his office in Salem at around 10 p.m. by a four member gang.
Condemning the killing, BJP state leader Pon Radhakrishnan told IANS: "The party has called for a state wide general strike Monday. Ramesh was a patriot and did not have any professional enemies. He is the fourth Hindu leader to be killed within a year."
He demanded a detailed probe into the murder by a retired judge.
Radhakrishnan said Ramesh had escaped an earlier attack on his life and his car was burnt.
"There is a concerted attack on Hindu leaders in the state and the government is not taking any serious action to put an end to this. Last month Hindu Munnani state secretary Vellaiayappan was murdered in the state," Radhakrishnan added.
He said there was no policeman at the murder spot when he visited it at around 4.30-5 a.m. Saturday.
"The murder evidence could have been erased," he remarked.
K.T. Raghavan, a spokesperson of state BJP, said: "There seems to be a concerted targeting of second line leadership of Hindu organisations in the state."
"BJP's medical wing secretary V. Aravind was killed in Vellore in 2012. Recently Hindu Munnani leader Vellaiappan was killed. The police seems to be having no clue about the killers," Raghavan told IANS.
Echoing him, Arjun Sampath of the Hindu Makkal Katchi told IANS: "There should be a CBI probe. Looking at the pattern of attacks it seems they are planned inter-state. The attacks are targeted to create fear psychosis amongst the second rung leadership of Hindu organisations."
Incidentally last month Sampath's house in Coimbatore was attacked.
According to him, Pughazendhi of Nagapattinam was killed around seven months back and many others like BJP's M.R. Gandhi, Hindu Munnani activist Anand and others have been attacked.
Sampath said the state should provide security or issue gun licence to Hindu leaders to protect themselves.
Radhakrishnan said BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu will be going to Salem, about 335 km from here, to pay his respects.
"Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, party leader Arun Jaitely and others spoke to me and asked about the details," Radhakrishnan said.
Condemning the attacks, BJP members staged protests at various places in the state.
Ramesh was twice the general secretary of the Tamil Nadu BJP and was also a trustee at the Chennai Port Trust.
He is survived by his wife Subha and daughter who studies in class 11.