Spotlight on Anthoor civic body over one suicide and another bid

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Kannur: Even as the officials of the Anthoor municipality here are trying to fend off allegations that their apathy led to the suicide of a builder, a person who slammed the civic body in a WhatsApp group tried to take his own life.

Vijesh of Poothapara in Bakkalam was admitted to the intensive care unit of the Kannur Government Medical College Hospital late on June 17 after a suicide bid.

It is said Vijesh, who used the name Biju Bakkalam, had sent multiple voice messages to the WhatsApp group, criticising the municipality for not resolving the water scarcity in Poothapara area.

Vijesh was asked to withdraw his comments from the WhatsApp group -- named ‘Vallarunu Anthoor’-- that has municipal chairperson P K Shyamala, vice-chairperson K Shaju and other CPM leaders as admins. As he did not comply, he was then removed from the group after which he tried to commit suicide by hanging himself using a saree. His wife who saw this, cut the saree and took him to the hospital with the help of neighbours.

Vijesh had alleged that the municipality had not taken any step to resolve the water crisis and did not even provide drinking water using tankers, citing narrow roads.

While stating the CPM denied water to the people, Vijesh further said that he regretted voting for the councillor, who do not look into the issues of the area. Vijesh also said that if the statements made by him were incorrect, they may respond to him.

However, denying Vijesh's allegations, municipal councillor T Suresh Babu had given a detailed explanation in the WhatsApp group. "There is no drinking water shortage issue in Poothapra. The accusations are being made by a person who does not take part in ward meetings or get involved in social activities. As a municipal councillor, I had recently visited the area four times and this person was not there then,” Suresh Babhu alleged.

Bakkalam is a CPM bastion in Kerala's Kannur district. Incidentally, Sajan Parayil -- the builder who killed himself on Tuesday -- was upset over the delay in getting the from this civic body the ownership certificate for a convention centre his construction company had built at this locality. The 49-year-old had made several attempts to secure the property documents from the Anthoor municipality failed to yield any results. Sajan had reportedly told his relatives and friends that his file was being delayed over lame reasons.

The civic body is ruled by CPM and its writ runs unchallenged as the municipal council has no members from the opposition ranks.

Municipal chairperson P K Shyamala, however, denied the allegations over Sajan's death.

Shyamala had told Sajan that he will not receive the certificate as long as she remains in her seat, Sajan's relatives allege.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan promised strict action over the incident while terming Sajan's suicide 'unfortunate'.

“The incident is unfortunate,” the CM said in the Kerala Assembly on Wednesday.

Minister of Local Self-Government A C Moideen too said strict action will be taken against those responsible in case of foul play.

Meanwhile, the Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala stated Sajan took the extreme step unable to bear the torment of CPM.

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