December 21, 2021 4:16:47 am
“As a father, I feel proud of my son, who sacrificed his life for an ideology in which he had firm belief. He has become a shaheed (martyr),’’ said H Saleem, father of Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) state secretary K S Shan, who was killed allegedly by RSS workers in Alappuzha on Saturday night.
At the family’s tiny, asbestos-roofed house, situated within a compound of barely three cents of land (100 cents is 1 acre) at Mannancheri in Alappuzha district, Saleem, 62, who works as an autorickshaw driver, was scanning newspaper pages about killings of his son and advocate Ranjith Sreenivas, BJP’s OBC Morcha state secretary.
“After his (Shan’s) death, many people, cutting across religion, are calling me to share my grief. I have to often console them,’’ he said. He said Shan had been one of the early leaders of Campus Front, the students’ wing of Popular Front of India (PFI). He had initially joined NDF, an organisation founded in 1994 which later became part of PFI.
A former local officer-bearer of Communist Party of India (CPI), Saleem said he has always been against PFI’s ideology. “I opposed Shan joining PFI (then NDF). (But) my son was determined to go with NDF — I let him have his own political journey.’’
Emphasising that Shan’s murder hasn’t turned him against any community, Saleem said, “If a few people have shown cruelty towards my son, or my family, I can’t depict their community as cruel and start hating that community,” he said. “There is a temple (Sree Vijaya Vilasam Temple) 150 metres behind and a juma masjid just in front of my house. There is a Hindu family adjacent to my house. I don’t want to give any communal colour to the killings.”
Equally shocked at the alleged counter-killing of BJP leader, he said, “We have known each other for several years. I knew Ranjith from his RSS days; we lived in the same locality earlier. Ranjith’s killing has orphaned two daughters; my son also left behind two minor girls. Will these assailants realise the plight of these children?”
Shan, who ran a furnishings business, also looked after his divorced sister, Shajitha, and her two daughters, Saleem said. “Now the entire burden of these two families is on me. I earn only Rs 400 to Rs 500 a day as an autorickshaw driver. I don’t know how to take care of them at this age…”