The delay in arresting the culprits behind the brutal murder of Youth Congress leader, M Suhaib and the silence maintained by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on the case has fuelled speculations in Kerala over the actual killers.
Senior leaders of Congress, the main opposition in the state, believe that the killers could be either ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) activists or professional killers sponsored by the party and it may be looking for ‘dummy’ culprits to be presented to the investigators.
Local leaders of CPM in Kannur had denied party’s role in the murder. If it is proved otherwise it will be highly embarrassing for the party leadership as well as the chief minister, who holds the home portfolio. The Congress leaders, therefore, believe that CPM might parade dummy culprits to evade responsibility of the murder.
Presenting dummy culprits has been a practice followed by not only the CPM but also the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) combine to wash their hands off political murders continuing unabated in the northern district of Kannur. The red-saffron cyclical revenge killings going in the district for more than three decades have claimed about 250 lives so far.
Both the parties have specially trained people to own responsibility for crimes that are committed with the approval of the parties’ leadership. Many are willing to depute for the real culprits as the concerned parties not only provide them legal help to come out unscathed from the case but also extend financial assistance to their families till they come out of jail.
Political observers feel that political murders were continuing in Kannur because of this practice. Advocate Jayashankar, a Kochi-based social activist, said the killings will come to a halt only if the real culprits and the senior leaders behind them are brought before the law.
“Alappuzha district had witnessed a long series of clashes between the CPM and the Communist Party of India (CPI) in the 1970s when the latter was in alliance with the Congress. The killings came to an end after a senior officer showed the guts to arrest a couple of senior leaders of the CPM," he said.
He said that the killings in Kannur too would come to an end if the senior leaders who push the leaders into the killing fields are made accountable. "The Kerala Police are capable of doing this. Unfortunately, their hands are tied down," said Jayashankar.
He pointed out that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had succeeded to some extent in booking the real culprits and the conspirators in most cases investigated by them. The Payyoli Manoj murder case is a glaring example.
The agency had found 13 of the 15 people chargesheeted for the murder of the RSS activist in 2012 by Kerala Police were dummies. Nine CPM activists, including youth wing leader Anoop, were arrested after the agency took over the investigation in 2016 on the direction of Kerala High Court.
One of the 13 persons released by the CBI later confessed that he had owned up the crime after the CPM had promised to extricate him from the case within three months. He revealed that he had surrendered before the police with the knowledge of CPM Kannur district secretary P Jayarajan and accused the party of cheating him and others who surrendered along with him.
Jayarajan himself was arrested in connection with the murder of another RSS worker Kathiroor Manoj in 2014 after the CBI took over the investigation. The agency named him as “principal conspirator” in the case and charged him under the stringent UAPA Act in the chargesheet filed in August last year.
It said that he had entered into criminal conspiracy with first accused Vikraman, who was his driver, to eliminate Manoj after he left the CPM along with 500 others to join the BJP in a brutal and terrorising manner. Jayarajan is also an accused in the Shukoor murder case.
The CPM had also tried to scuttle the sensational TP Chandrashekharan murder case (2012) but the police under the previous United Democratic Front (UDF) government regime foiled it by arresting the main accused harboured by the party workers in a highly fortified party village in Kannur district.
Nine CPM workers, including two leaders, are undergoing life-term for the murder of the Marxist renegade, who earned the wrath of the party leadership for floating a separate outfit after he was expelled from the CPM for questioning its ideological deviations.
TP’s widow K Rema believes that the UDF government had, however, succumbed to the CPM pressure in the investigation of the conspiracy angle in which the needle of suspicion is turned to top CPM leaders, including Pinarayi himself.
Congress leaders find lot of similarity between the murder of Chandrashekharan and the Youth Congress leader. The assailants hacked to death both the leaders, who had challenged the CPM in its impregnable fortresses, in a savage manner after creating an atmosphere of terror by hurling bombs.
While the killers of the 51-year-old Marxist rebel struck 57 times to make sure that he is dead, those in the case of Suhaib (30) ensured it with 37 stabs, that too below his knee, with high mechanical precision.
Leader of opposition in the state Assembly Ramesh Chennithala believes that the culprits behind the murder of Suhaib could be killers of Chandrashekharan themselves since three of the nine convicts in the case were given parole from Kannur central jail immediately ahead of his murder on 12 January.
The three included Sunil Kumar alias Kodi Suni, who is the main culprit in the TP murder case. Chennithala said the Suhaib’s assailants could be in a safe haven under the CPM. This is why the police are groping in the dark about the culprits even five days after the crime.
Kannur-based senior Congress leader and former minister K Sudhakaran said that the Congress was not expecting justice from the police as their hands are tied down by the Pinarayi government. However, he has announced a 48-hour fast from Monday to press the demand for immediate arrest of the culprits. The Congress is also planning to approach the court for seeking a CBI probe into the case.
Political observers feel that silence maintained by the chief minister and the party’s state leadership could be an admission of the role of party leaders in the murder. NP Chekutty, a Kozhikode-based political analyst, says no other explanation could be given for the silence of Pinarayi since he had gone all the way to Haryana to express solidarity with the family of Junaid, a Muslim youth who was killed while travelling in a train. Pinarayi had also offered financial assistance to the family.
“If his concern over the loss of the life of an innocent young man is genuine, he should have heard the wails from Suhaib’s house, which is only 10 kilometres from his residence in Kannur. The chief minister, who was prompt in supporting a film song dubbed blasphemous by a section of Muslim fundamentalists, has closed his eye to the agony of Suhaib’s mother,” Chekkutty said.
Political violence in Kannur will not end unless the killer parties see the tears of the mothers who have lost their sons, he added.
Updated Date: Feb 17, 2018 15:58 PM