By P. Sreekumaran
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Communist Party of India(Marxist) has come under greater pressure with the arrest of two party workers in connection with the murder of Youth Congress activist Shuhaib.
The arrests have come after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan broke his silence over the murder seven days after the gruesome killing. The CM had drawn heavy flak over his failure to react to the murder hitherto.
The Congress has, however, dismissed the ‘arrests’ as nothing but drama. The two CPI(M) workers had actually surrendered before the police accompanied by local CPI(M) leaders. What has reinforced suspicions about the drama is the fact that the surrender has taken place while the Kannur Superintendent of Police is on leave. The SP, reports say, had left instructions that arrests, if any, should take place only after he is back. That his instructions have been ignored is proof of the collusion between the police officers below the rank of SP and the local CPI(M) leadership, alleges the Congress.
The Congress further accuses the CPI(M) leadership of protecting the real culprits, who, they allege, are hiding in what are described as ‘party villages’! This being the reality, the Congress has decided to intensify the statewide agitation till the real culprits are nabbed. In this connection, Youth Congress chief Dean Kuriakose has begun a fast outside the Secretariat in the state capital while the strongman of Congress in Kannur district, K. Sudhakaran has launched a 48-hour fast in Kannur.
Significantly, Shuhaib’s family members have also indicated that those in custody now are not the real culprits. Former chief minister and senior Congress leader Oommen Chandy has warned the CPI(M) leadership that the CPI(M)’s attempt to protect the real culprits by supplying dummy culprits would prove costly for the party.
In another development which would intensify the pressure on the CPI(M), party stalwart V S Achuthanandan has strongly condemned the murder of Shuhaib. Under no circumstances can a murder be justified, said VS in response to questions from presspersons. The strong VS response has sent the top CPI(M) leaders scurrying for cover.
The main demand of the Congress is that the murder case should be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation. The probe, being conducted by the state police, would be a farce as the police is under the direct control of the CM, who also holds charge of the home portfolio, the Congress leaders point out.
With the Congress, which has managed to access a powerful political weapon to belabour the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) Government, stepping up its agitation on the issue, the political temperature has gone up. The coming days could witness further escalation of political tensions unless the CPI(M)-led Government takes steps to nab the real culprits behind the Shuhaib murder.
The CPI(M) is facing a double-pronged attack with the BJP also upping the ante on the issue. The party has signaled its intent to extract maximum political mileage out of the issue. And that is bad news for the politically beleaguered CPI(M)’s State leadership. (IPA Service)