The conspiracy to murder Ariyil Shukoor was hatched at Cooperative Hospital, Thaliparamba, says the charge-sheet filed by the CBI before the court. Detailed planning involving CPI(M) leaders at several levels of the party hierarchy was carried out to implement the ‘sentence’ in a professional manner, according to the CBI.
P Jayarajan has been slapped with murder and conspiracy charges by the CBI in connection with the killing. TV Rajesh has also been named in the charge-sheet submitted at the Thalassery court on Monday.
An act of revenge
Every minute detail was given attention to, from surrounding Shukoor and his friends to hiding the dagger used in the murder. Local leaders of the CPI(M) had an active role in each action, according to the charge-sheet.
The murder was sparked by an attack on some CPI(M) workers at Ariyil, a stronghold of the Muslim League, during the third week of February, 2012. As the area remained tense, CPI(M) district secretary P Jayarajan and party’s Kalliasseri MLA T V Rajesh set out to visit the area along with some local leaders.
Meanwhile, Muslim Youth League activists crowded on the road as a rumour spread that the police were arriving there. Jayarajan, Rajesh and other party leaders reached there at this stage along with a team of media personnel. The League workers blocked the vehicles of the CPI(M) leaders and the media without realizing who the passengers were.
Jayarajan, meanwhile, stopped his vehicle and stepped out of it as he felt that no violence would take place if the League workers recognized him. However, an attack was unleashed on the vehicle after the crowd learnt that Jayarajan and Rajesh were travelling in it. One man even grabbed Jayarajan by his shirt collar and issued threats. As Jayarajan quickly retreated into his vehicle and sped away, he faced no further violence.
Jayarajan and his supporters headed to Cooperative Hospital, Thaliparamba and sought treatment. By then, the news of the attack on CPI(M) district secretary had spread like wildfire and local leaders immediately decided to give a fitting reply.
Around this time, Shukoor, an MSF leader and a native of Ariyil, and some friends had reached Keezhara, a CPI(M) stronghold. A news had spread in the area that a group of people who had taken part in the attack on Jayarajan had escaped to Cherukunnu and CPI(M) workers kept watch at Valluvan Kadavu in Keezhara. When these CPI(M) men saw Shukoor’s group, a chase took place.
Shukoor and friends, pursued by the CPI(M) men, ran to a nearby house, which belonged to one Muhammed Kunhi and sought refuge. When the group that followed Shukoor reached the house and demanded that the asylum seekers be let out, Muhammed Kunhi refused.
Meanwhile, another rumour spread in the area. According to it, some terrorists were hiding in the house. Everyone who heard it rushed to Muhammed Kunhi’s house.
When Muhammed Kunhi went to the neighbouring house to collect the phone number of Kannapuram police station, an assailant broke open the door and entered Muhammed Kunhi’s house. “Weren’t you the people who attacked T V Rajesh and P Jayarajan?” he asked.
Shukoor and friends replied that they had no role in the incident and that this fact could be verified by contacting the CPI(M) men in their native place. But the assailant noted down the name and address of Shukoor and his four friends. Soon another man entered the house and clicked their photos with a mobile phone. He went out of the house and asked somebody over phone, “Check the photos. Are these the same people?”
Shukoor’s brother had heard about the incident by then and called the local CPI(M) leaders seeking help to save the stranded youths. But the reply was, “if they are involved, let them suffer the consequences.”
After one hour, the first stage of the ‘trial’ was completed. Shukoor’s friends Abdul Salam, Ayoob and Harris were dragged out of the house and to a paddy field nearby. By then around 200 people had gathered in the field. One assailant then repeatedly kicked on Ayoob’s eye. Crying in pain, Ayoob ran away from the spot. Abdul Salam and Harris were subsequently thrashed. Both of them followed Ayoob and escaped. The hundreds of people witnessing the scene did not intervene.
The mob then shifted its focus to Shukoor and Zakkaria, whom the court had found ‘guilty.’ Both were brought to the field and the ‘punishment’ started. The first step was beating up with iron rods. Next, a sharp tool was used to make injuries on their bodies. Meanwhile, Shukoor slipped out of the assailants’ grip and began running. The attackers followed him through the paddy field.
Seeing that the entire mob was behind Shukoor, Zakkaria ran towards the road and escaped. Along the way, a police team saw Zakkaria and took him to hospital, which saved his life.
Shukoor was hacked from behind while he was running and killed. All the local people were silent witnesses. By the time the police arrived, the ‘sentence’ had been carried out and the ‘court’ adjourned. Shockingly, the assailants calmly moved around the area even in the presence of the police.
In fact, Shukoor’s ‘death sentence’ was the punishment for pelting stones at a convoy of Jayarajan, Rajesh and a media team by Youth League activists.