17 RSS cadres held for murder of 17-year-old Kerala student

17 RSS members have been arrested for the murder of a 17-year-old student who was trying to save girls at his school from harassment.

Seventeen people affiliated to the right-wing organisation Rashtriya Seva Sangh (RSS) were arrested in Kerala on Saturday, for the murder of a 17-year-old student.

According to a report in the Indian Express, the victim A Ananthu was a class 12 student in Cherthala town, who was beaten to death after he questioned some of the accused for harassing girls at his school.

Of the 17 arrested, seven accused are minors and studied at the same school as Ananthu. Cherthala Deputy Superintendent of Police YR Rastum confirmed that all the arrested were RSS affiliates and told Express that it was a case of planned murder.

An officer told Express that police plans to petition the court to consider the minors as adults, due to the seriousness of the crime.

WHAT'S THE CASE

Ananthu, and two of his friends, had been questioning their classmates for harassing girls at their school in Vayalar.

Their questions led to clashes between the two groups of students, so much so, that the opposing group allegedly targeted Ananthu and tried to attack him during a recent temple festival.

On Wednesday, the group caught hold of Ananthu from a temple near his home. They dragged him to a deserted area and beat him to death.

ANANTHU'S RSS CONNECT

Ananthu used to be an RSS worker until about a year ago, but stopped going to his RSS shakha to focus on his studies. This raised suspicion that his murder may have been politically motivated.

Both Deputy Superintendent Rastum and the BJP have denied those, however.

"The victim had been associated with RSS until a year back. His parents are still BJP workers. At the same time, it is baseless to say that he was killed for having deserted the RSS," said BJP Alappuzha President K Soman.