Congress slams CPI-M for defending police action against Kerala mother

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Thiruvananthapuram, April 7 (IANS) The Congress on Friday slammed the CPI-M’s defence of the police action against the hapless mother of Jishnu Prannoy, an engineering student who, according to her, was “killed” by his college authorities.

She has blamed the college’s Chairman Krishnadas and some others, all of whom are now out on bail, for her son’s death.

“If Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has any sense of morality left, he should apologise to Mahija (the breaved mother),” Leader of Opposition in Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala told reporters here.

“She was ‘dragged and roughed up’ by the police, when she and her relatives were going to the office of the state police chief to lodge their protest over the manner the probe is going on… It’s been 90 days since Prannoy left this world,” he said.

Mahija and her brother are admitted in a hospital here after being “dragged and attacked” by the police on Wednesday and they are on an indefinite fast.

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“Now a CPI-M statement says that the Congress is behind the action that took place on Wednesday. Not a single leader of ours was anywhere near there. So, this charge against the Congress is nothing but a joke.

“Vijayan’s statement that the police did not do any wrong is in fact a reply to V.S. Achuthanandan, M.A. Baby and CPI state Secretary Kanam Rajendran, who have all condemned the police action against the hapless mother,” added Chennithala.

State Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran on Friday called on Mahija and assured her that the state government would do everything they can to address her grievance and urged her to call off her protest.

But Mahija and her brother and other relatives are determined that they would not retract from their earlier stance that their protest would continue till the two senior police officials, who roughed them, are suspended.

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They have also demanded that the state government ensure arrest of three more staff members, who are on the run ever since her son passed away.

The arrest of five social activists, including the former private secretary of Achuthanandan — K.M. Shahjahan, who was present when Mahija was walking towards the office of the police chief, came under fire from several quarters.

The ageing mother of Shahjahan — a retired scientist of the Rubber Board — told the media here that her son was being harassed by Vijayan as he had filed a petition against the Chief Minister in the SNC Lavalin case.

“This is nothing but a vindictive action unleashed by Vijayan against my son, as he has taken up the cudgels against Vijayan,” said Thankamma, the mother of Shahjahan, who has threatened to sit on an indefinite fast in front of the jail where her son is kept.

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Public sympathy is growing for Mahija in her home district Kozhikode, where her daughter’s fast entered the third day. A good number of local people have also joined her in the fast.

State Minister for Fisheries J. Mercykutty told the media that there was no police excess against Mahija, but the police could have acted in a more reasonable manner.

Prannoy was found hanging in January on the campus of the Nehru College of Engineering and Research, a private college in Thrissur. Initially, it was dismissed as a case of suicide, but following Mahija’s strong protest, the police have taken up the case again.



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