BACK IN 2011, contesting his first Assembly elections for the Congress from Thalassery constituency in Kerala’s Kannur district, Rijil Makkutty had spoken out against political violence in Kannur — purportedly unleashed by the CPI(M)-led LDF.
Makkutty, then the state vice-president of Kerala Student Union (KSU), the students’ outfit of the Congress in the state, had said, “We are facing a horrific situation in Kannur, where even domestic animals are not spared.”
Makkutty had lost the election to CPI(M) Politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, but the words came back to haunt him on Monday, two days after he led a team of Youth Congress activists in allegedly slaughtering a male calf in public in Kannur. This time, Makkutty’s ire was directed at the BJP — more specifically, the BJP-led NDA government’s notification on sale of cattle for slaughter.
On Monday, the party suspended Makkutty, now 34 and Youth Congress’s (YC) Kannur mandal president, along with two other YC leaders, as such an action by Congress workers is “completely unacceptable” to the party.
Makkutty claimed that he had informed Youth Congress state president Dean Kuriakose on Saturday morning about the plan to kill a calf as part of the party’s protests against the Central government’s notification. “He did not only not object to our idea (but) also wanted YC to strongly protest against the notification. Although there are reports that I was suspended among three leaders, the YC is yet to get any order in this regard.”
Reacting to Makkutty’s claim, Kuriakose said he did not give any specific instruction to any leader on how to protest against the government notification regarding buying and selling of cattle in animal markets.
Stating that he would accept the party’s decision and continue to take on the “communal agenda of the Sangh Parivar”, Makkutty said they had strategically chosen Kannur city. “We chose Kannur city since there is more space for slaughtering. It was an agitation to protect the right to consume meat,’’ he said.
Coming from a Communist family based in Koothuparamba town of Kannur district, Makkutty became a KSU activist in his school days. He went on to become the outfit’s Kannur district president in 2007, and the state vice-president in 2011, the year he first contested the Assembly elections.
A loyalist of former Congress MP from Kannur K Sudhakaran, Makkutty is a Mass Communication graduate who has risen through the ranks of KSU leadership through agitations. While his 2011 election affidavit had 13 criminal cases pending against him, all of them were in connection with political agitations.
In November last year, Makkutty was manhandled, allegedly by CPI(M) workers after he had called CPI(M) leader E P Jayarajan “stupid’.’ Not one to be daunted, Makkutty had said, “Sudhakaran (Kannur Lok Sabha MP from 2009-14) is my guru. I come from a CPI(M) village, and I am not going to sit home idle, fearing the CPI(M).’’