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Kerala: ‘Eyewitness’ blames CPM men for leader’s murder; party says they are now with RSS

The Indian Express logo The Indian Express 15-08-2022 Express News Service
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A day after a local CPM leader was killed in Kerala’s Palakkad district, a controversy erupted on Monday over the political affiliation of the killers.

K Shajahan (40), a CPM local committee member, was hacked to death by a gang late on Sunday while he was engaged in preparations for Independence Day celebrations.

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While a man who claimed to be an eyewitness to the murder told the media that Shajahan was attacked by his own party men, the CPM's district secretary said the assailants had left the party years before.

The CPM state secretariat initially referred to the killers as "anti-social elements who want to foment riots in the state’’, without mentioning their political affiliation. Later in the afternoon, the state secretariat issued a statement blaming a BJP-RSS gang for the murder. "It is a habit of BJP-RSS to kill CPI (M) workers and then unleash a baseless campaign. In this case also, the BJP has started false propaganda with the help of the media,’’ read the statement.

Earlier in the day, an eyewitness named Suresh told the media that there had been eight persons in the gang and two of them had hacked Shajahan. "There were eight persons who had been with the CPM in the past. Two of them had personal animosity towards Shajahan. There was an altercation between Shajahan and two of the gang members. I have witnessed my friends’ death in front of my eyes. Sabari and Aneesh, who hacked Shajahan, are party members. They had a dispute over subscribing to the CPM daily Deshabhimani. Shajahan was not subscribing to the party newspaper,’’ Suresh told the media.

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Police superintendent R Vishwanadh said eight persons were involved in the murder. "It is too early to talk about the motive behind the murder. Prima facie, there is no evidence to suggest that it was a political murder. A detailed probe is on,’’ he said.

Initially the CPM was cagey about the nature of the murder. On Sunday night, senior party leader N N Krishnadas and party legislator A Prabhakaran refused to find politics behind the murder. Both wanted the police to find out the motive behind it.

Soon after the eyewitness's claims were reported, CPM district secretary E N Suresh Babu told the media, "They are not CPI(M) activists. They had left the party years ago. They are now associated with the RSS. Then how can we say that the assailants were CPI(M) men."

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The CPM state leadership was silent on the alleged RSS role in its first statement, made on Monday morning. But after the party's district sectrariat blamed BJP-RSS, the state leadership, in an unusual development, issued a statement blaming BJP-RSS for the murder.

Congress state president K Sudhakaran also joined the issue, asking whether "all murders should be attributed to the BJP". "CPM men themselves have spoken against their own party. The CPM is behind the murder’’ he said in Kannur.

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