MALAPPURAM: The probe into the undeclared hartal on April 15 Vishu day achieved a major breakthrough with the arrest of the five masterminds on Saturday. A team led by district police chief Debesh Kumar Behra arrested five persons, including a former RSS worker, for circulating the social media messages calling for the hartal.
Amarnath Baiju, 20 of Thennala in Kollam, and Thiruvananthapuram natives M J Syril, 22 of Kunnappuzha, Sudheesh, 22 of Nellivila, Gokul Shekhar, 21 of Neyyattinkara and Akhil, 23 of Venniyur are those arrested.
Officers said Amarnath is the key conspirator of the hartal campaign. A former RSS worker, he was thrown out from the organisation recently. Police suspect Amarnath with the support of others started the hartal campaign through various WhatsApp groups with the aim of denting the Sangh Parivar's image.
Malappuram DySP Jaleel Thotahil told reporters Amarnath is the creator and admin of WhatsApp groups called the ‘Voice of Youth’ and Voice of Sisters’, through which the messages were circulated. Amarnath started the hartal campaign with the support of the other accused whom he had befriended on WhatsApp.
The team created district- level WhatsApp groups across the state and launched an aggressive campaign for the hartal after their social media campaign evoked a good response," the DySP said.
Police have already identified a minor who circulated the messages on social media. The minor from Tirur was one of the admins of the group and his phone has been seized.
SP Behera said more persons will be taken into custody soon.