People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 45

November 06, 2011



Dalit Youth Commits Suicide Following Custodial Torture


N S Sajith


POINTING to the anti-dalit mindset of the UDF government and its police, brutal custodial torture of a youth led to his tragic suicide on the eve of Deepavali. The victim was identified as Sinu, a resident of Theviyode, Vithura, in Thiruvananthapuram district.


The incident caused huge protests, road picketing and observation of a hartal by dalit organisations in Vithura on Deepavali. Two policemen were suspended in connection with the incident.


Sinu (26) and his friend Vijesh were taken into custody by Vithura police on October 25 evening for a trivial mistake of bursting crackers by the roadside near Sinu’s home. Vijesh told the media that two policemen including Sub-Inspector Rajesh meted third degree torture to Sinu in the police station. Later, both of them were released on bail. Sinu’s relatives said he had, on reaching home, complained of brutal torture and felt depressed. However, his mother found him dead in the wee hours on October 26.


When the news of Sinu’s tragic death broke out, people in large numbers thronged Vithura and picketed the state highway in Palode. Inquest of the body was carried out in presence of the tehsildar.


Sinu worked as a watchman in the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) and was a DYFI activist, living with his father Soman, mother Meena and a sister. CPI(M) district secretary Kadakampalli Surendran, A Sampath (MP) and Koliyakode Krishnan Nair (MLA) visited the bereaved family.


On October 27, Koliyakkode Krishnan Nair moved an adjournment motion in the assembly. Opposition members demanded that a murder case be registered against the policemen who were responsible Sinu’s suicide. Deputy leader of opposition and former home minister, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, said the UDF rule has turned the Kerala police stations into torture cells.


Chief minister Oommen Chandy, who is in charge of the home department too, admitted that custodial torture had led to Sinu’s death and said an inquiry was being conducted in the incident. However, he said the government had the information that Sinu had shown suicidal tendency on many occasions. The opposition expressed dissatisfaction with the reply and staged a walkout.




‘Axis of evil’ is a term used by former US president George W Bush to refer to Iran, Iraq and North Korea, and we all know how imperialists used to manufactured consent for an attack on Iraq.


Now the same term has revisited the Keralites’ psyche though for a different reason. In Kerala this term is now being used to refer to chief minister Oommen Chandy’s clandestine hobnobbing with the Axis Bank, one of the new generation banks. Chandy’s notorious concern for his kith and kin again hit the headlines in connection with the Rs 3000 crore Kochi Metro Rail project and in the appointment of State Cooperative Exams Board. The Kochi Metro has opened an account in the Kollam branch of Axis Bank, where Chandy’s close relative, Sachu, is assistant manager. The distance between Kochi and Kollam by road comes to ….not much, only around 200 km!


Chandy, who is already facing allegations in the palmolein scam and in the 256 crore scam the Travancore Titanium Products Limited, is at his wit’s end.


Staging a frontal attack on the chief minister in the assembly on October 27, former finance minister Dr Thomas Isaac said there was gross misuse of power by chief minister in the opening of this account.


“One could understand the rationale of starting Kochi Metro’s account in a bank in Kochi or in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city, but opening an account in Kollam is unjustifiable. This is a move to help the new generation bank.” At present there are two crore rupees in the current account at the Axis Bank’s Kollam branch but the understanding with the bank is that this could go up to hundreds of crores of rupees, he said.


The Congress party’s defence in this controversy was lame-duck. Revenue minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said the previous LDF government had deposited the National Rural Health Mission’s funds in ICICI Bank. The LDF replied that the deposit was made as per the central government’s conditionality.


The appointment of Kunju Illampalli, a relative of Chandy, as chairman of the Cooperative Exams Board has also led to a controversy. INTUC leader Kunju Illampalli is also an accused in a criminal case regarding an attack on KSRTC workers in Kottayam.




While his involvement in Palmolein scam is still buzzing in the court and the media, chief minister Oommen Chandy has landed in yet another scam regarding Travancore Titanium Products Limited (TTPL), Thiruvananthapuram, which caused a huge 1000 crore loss to the exchequer. Recently a letter showing the chief minister’s excessive interest in the Rs 250 crore waste treatment plant was leaked, which rocked the state assembly for two consecutive days. The letter also showed that Chandy has blatantly rejected the suggestion from the prime minister’s office for an enquiry into this scam.


The said waste treatment plant was installed in the TTPL in 2005 when Chandy headed the UDF government. As the chief minister, he had hastily made the deal with Maecon Corporation. Two letters written by Chandy to G Thyagarajan, chairman of the Supreme Court’s Monitoring Committee in April 2005 and January 2006, urged for extension of time to carry out necessary pollution control measures in TTPL and assured that there won’t be any slippages in carrying them out. A case pertaining to this is already pending in Thiruvananthapuram Vigilance Court. The PMO wrote a letter to the then chief secretary urging an enquiry after receiving a letter from Sebastian George of Kannur.


This is the second time Chandy’s involvement in this scam has hit the headlines. In the midst of the assembly election campaign, K K Ramachandran, AICC member and health minister in the previous Chandy government, had revealed the details of the deal. A case was filed by the company’s workers in the Vigilance Court on the basis of these revelations.


The 256 crore anti-pollution project was finalised when the company possessed assets worth 59 crore only. Later the amount was upped to Rs 414 crore. A tragic factor is that instruments imported at Rs 72 crore are still lying unused in the company’s premises.


On October 28, opposition members demanded Chandy’s resignation in the wake of the new revelations. Moving an adjournment motion, Dr Thomas Isaac said Chandy must follow in the footsteps of Ashok Chawan and B S Yediyurappa, former chief ministers of Maharashtra and Karnataka respectively.


Chandy also rejected the demand of a CBI enquiry, after which the opposition staged a walkout.




Forest minister K B Ganesh Kumar’s rude and discourteous abuse against opposition leader and veteran communist stalwart V S Achuthanandhan has led to a big hullabaloo in Kerala, with the length and breadth of the state witnessing massive protest marches on October 28 and 29. Kerala assembly adjourned for a day amid big protest demanding the minister’s removal.


Addressing a public meeting organised by the United Democratic Front in Pathanapuram (Kollam district) on October 28 evening, Kerala Congress (B) leader K B Ganesh Kumar made derogatory remarks against V S Achuthanandhan. In the same meeting UDF chief whip P C George too abused former minister and CPI(M) state secretariat member A K Balan by calling him names for his caste.


Ganesh Kumar, son of R Balakrishnapillai who is imprisoned in a graft case, called V S Achuthanandhan a “sex-maniac” and a “pervert.” Ganesh also stated that VS had gone senile. “VS who goes around calling everyone else a crook like a mad man forgets his son Arun Kumar, the biggest crook around,” Ganesh Kumar said. (One recalls that VS had held Ganesh Kumar guilty of the attack on a teacher in Valakam Vocational Higher Secondary School owned by R Balakrishnapillai.)


Reacting to the minister’s remark, VS told reporters that the comments showed the minister’s culture but then declined to make any further comment. The DYFI, SFI, AIDWA and AIYF organised protest marches towards the Secretariat on October 29.


In the assembly, opposition members shouted ‘Ganesh, Go Back’ before the question hour began. Kodiyeri Balakrishnan asked the speaker whether the chief minister had the guts to kick out the minister who had abused the opposition leader. Chandy, in the assembly, apologised on behalf of the minister.


CPI(M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan demanded that Ganesh Kumar must himself apologise for his extremely unjustifiable remarks.


Later, at a press conference in Thiruvananthapuram, Ganesh Kumar apologised for his remarks against V S Achuthanandhan.




On October 29, former SC-ST development minister and CPI(M) state secretariat member A K Balan said he would file a suit against the government’s chief whip P C George for his controversial remarks at a public meeting in Pathanapuram. He said P C George is a symbol of the UDF’s anti-dalit mindset and is trying to gain the support of upper caste people. He demanded that the chief minister instruct the police to file a case against George or the police take suo moto action against him.


Dalit activists in Kerala say a case can be initiated against George under the Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes Atrocities Prevention Act for intentionally insulting a scheduled caste or tribe.


CPI(M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan said the UDF has unleashed its chief whip against others. While inaugurating the Janajagratha Sadass, organised in Kanhangad, Vijayan said abusing everyone has became an essential qualification for a chief whip.




In an imprudent move challenging the decree of the appellate court, the UDF government has decided to set free Kerala Congress (B) leader and former minister R Balakrishnapilliai, who is undergoing one-year imprisonment in the infamous Edamalyar graft case. The decision was on the pretext of annual release of prisoners on November 1, the Kerala state formation day. Also, the decision came only a day after the death of food and civil supplies minister T M Jacob, which has reduced the UDF strength to 71 in the 140 member assembly.


For many weeks, Balakrishnapillai has been enjoying a five star life in a hospital in the state capital on the pretext of medical treatment. He is also involved in a controversy of making phone calls while serving a jail term, and in a brutal attack against a teacher in Valakam.


As per the government’s decision, 2483 prisoners in various jails were to get concessions in their jail terms along with Balakrishnapillai. On the day, Pillai and 137 prisoners were to be released.


Balakrishnapillai was lodged in Poojapura Central Prison, Thiruvanathapuram on February 18, 2011, after the Supreme Court verdict in Edamalayar case. But he got 75 days parole and spent just 69 days in jail.


LDF convener Vaikom Vishwan said that the UDF government had challenged the rule of law and ridiculed the Supreme Court’s verdict by releasing Pillai.