A 28-year-old software professional was bludgeoned to death allegedly by persons with suspected links to a Hindu outfit near here, police said today.
A total of 13 persons have been arrested by police in connection with the murder of Shaikh Mohasin Sadiq in Bankar Colony in Hadapsa area on Monday night with six more people being arrested today.
The trigger for the attack was apparently uploading of derogatory pictures of warrior king Shivaji and late Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray on Facebook by unknown persons, which led to a protest bandh on Sunday.
The murder of Sadiq, who hailed from Solapur, sparked tension in the area, police said. The victim worked in the IT department of a textile firm in the city.
The accused have been booked under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and 147 (rioting) of Indian Penal Code.
They are said to be linked to Hindu Rashtra Sena, a right wing organisation.
The victim was thrashed with sticks at Bankar Colony by the accused and he succumbed to his injuries during treatment at a nearby hospital, police said.
Two other youths too had been attacked and injured in stone throwing at the same spot on the same night, according to police.
Commissioner of Police Satish Mathur told PTI this evening that "situation in Hadapsar was totally peaceful" and people were going about their normal lives.
Mathur said that the six people picked up today belonged to the same outfit of the seven members who were earlier arrested.
The seven persons arrested earlier were remanded in police custody till June 9 by a local court today.
Police said the case was handed over to Crime Branch and they have appealed to citizens not to believe or spread rumours as the situation is peaceful.
Security has been beefed up in the area.
When asked if the fatal attack had any connection with the protest over Facebook pictures, DCP Manoj Patil said, "There is no direct connection." He, however, did not rule out indirect fallout of the Facebook posts.
Patil also said the situation was now "peaceful and under control".
Among those arrested by Pune police today is Dhananjay Desai, who heads the Hindu Rashtra Sena, Commissioner of Police Satish Math Mathur said.
Joint Commissioner of Police Sanjay Kumar said tonight that immediately after the murder, an SMS was circulated among the seven accused, who were picked up in the first round of arrests, proclaiming, "Pahili wicket padli (the first wicket has fallen)."
Kumar said these messages were found in the mobile phones recovered from the seven accused.
He also said that the police have registered an offence under the IT Act against unidentified persons for uploading the controversial images.