Kasaragod: The quick detention and arrest of the main accused in the twin murder of Youth Congress workers at Periya in Kasaragod indicate that the CPM has decided to play it safe with the Lok Sabha polls round the corner. Kallyott CPM local committee member A Peethambaran was the main suspect pointed out by the relatives and friends of the slain youths Sharathlal (Joshi) and Kripesh and they believed that there existed a deep hatred between the two groups.
Though scuffles and verbal clashes were common between the two gangs, the residents never expected that the rivalry would lead to brutal murder of the two youngsters. One of the residents, who was close to both the gangs, said that it was shocking that people who lived so close nursed hatred that they waited for an opportunity to finish off the rivals.
However, the local CPM leaders acted quick. They sensed that any bid to protect the accused would only harm them. The two youngsters were hacked to death on the same day (February 17) on which CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran took out the 'Kerala Samrakshana Yathra' from Kasaragod.
Though rumours of a gang from Kannur and threats of other people on social media against Sharath and Kripesh surfaced, those close to the victims as well as Peethambaran doubted only the CPM worker and his local gang. Sharathlal was an accused in the assault on Peethambaran more than a month ago.
The local CPM leadership as well as the state leadership had to act quickly to respond to uneasy questions. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan cancelled his official programmes in Thrissur on Monday and held a closed door meeting with party state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan at the AKG Centre in Thiruvananthapuram. On Tuesday, Pinarayi promised stringent action against the accused and Kodiyeri stressed that the party would not stand by the accused.
According to sources, the main suspects were denied any protection by the party and they were asked to surrender as early as possible. They sensed that providing any help to the suspects would only harm the party and it could ill-afford at a time when the election campaign has already started. When the party also disowned, the culprits had no other option, but to surrender. However, their confession put the police in doubt as to whether it was a ploy to mislead the probe or even protect more culprits.
The CPM leaders have alleged that the Congress is trying to cash in on the issue. They blame Congress for forcing the families of the victims to give statement against the top leaders of CPM in order to thwart them from contesting. “Now their target would be those on our list to contest from Kasaragod constituency or other popular leaders so that they can tarnish us the maximum. We understand the feelings of the victims' families, but they are being used by the Congress leaders. Soon after the murder, only names of local leaders like Peethambaran came up, but now they are saying even the state-level leaders had threatened these two youngsters. That is not true,” said a CPM leader.
As per reports, Peethambaran had admitted in a written statement that he committed the crime with the support of two others in custody. Soon after Peethambaran's arrest was recorded by the police on Tuesday, CPM Kasaragod district committee expelled him from the party following directions from the state committee.
Peethambaran's family, meanwhile, said that he would not attempt a crime without the knowledge of the CPM and alleged that he would have owned up for someone else's act.
However, Kodiyeri was quick to refute the theory of Peethambaran's family.