Two days after the Kerala High Court hauled up the state government for delay in recovery of damages caused by banned Popular Front of India (PFI) activists during a bandh to protest countrywide raids and arrest of its leaders, revenue officials on Friday began attaching the properties of those PFI activists who were arrested.
Across the various districts in the state, right from morning, revenue officials along with a large posse of police officials began action by taking into possession houses and properties of several PFI activists.
Among those whose assets was taken over by the state government included former general secretary of PFI- Abdul Sathar at Karunagapally in Kollam district whose two-storied house and 13 cents of land was attached.
The list from other districts included 14 activists in Wayanad, five each from Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam and Trissur and four in Kasargod.
On December 23, the state had informed the court that the total damage caused to properties across the state during the September 23 bandh amounted to Rs 5.20 crore.
The same day, the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) V. Venu, who was asked to be present before the court, tendered an apology for the delay and explained measures being taken by the government to recover the damages. He stated that the steps for recovery will be done before January 15 and requested a time for a month to complete all the procedures.
But on Wednesday, the court while clearly expressing its displeasure on the tardy progress asked the state government to ensure that they submit a report before the court on January 23 that all recovery procedures have been completed in the districts and posted the case for January 24.
Incidentally, it was the division bench of Justices A.K. Jayasankaran Nambiar and C.P. Mohammed Nias took suo motu cognisance of the proceedings against the PFI and directed all the lower courts, wherever the cases have been registered, to see that no one from it should be let out on bail unless the compensation is paid.
If the compensation is not paid, then steps should be taken to confiscate personal assets of all those who indulged in the destruction, it said.
Incidentally this is for the first time that such an action has taken place where the assets of a large number of people engaged in destruction of public property have been attached.