Kalamuri, a sleepy hamlet in Thrissur district of Kerala, saw heavy police presence and the attendance of senior state BJP leaders on Monday as the family of Satheeshan (45) consigned his body to flames. The death of Satheeshan, who had sustained serious injuries during a CPM-BJP clash the day before, had sparked tensions in the area with both parties claiming he was one of their own.
According to his family’s accounts, Satheeshan, a daily-wage labourer who recently joined the BJP from CPM, was alarmed when he saw his nephew Jinesh, an RSS worker, being beaten by CPM workers. When he intervened in the clash, he got hit in the chest and stomach, reportedly by CPM workers. On returning home, Satheeshan complained of chest pain and was admitted to the Mother Hospital in Thrissur where he underwent an angiogram and later put on the ventilator. But early Sunday morning, doctors announced his death.
“He was feeling very weak after he came back home. When we were taking him to the hospital, he told me that he may not make it,” said his son Sandeep (18), an RSS worker.
“They (CPM) are trying to make it a case of natural death. They tried to persuade me but I didn’t talk to them,” he told the Indian Express.
On Monday, distraught relatives of Satheeshan wailed as his body was brought from the Medical College hospital to his home after post-mortem. Under a blue tarpaulin, his body, wrapped in a saffron cloth, was kept for the public to pay tributes. Some of the women in the family even fainted.
Senior BJP leaders including state president Kummanam Rajasekharan, general secretary AN Radhakrishnan and national executive member CK Padmanabhan met the distraught family and promised all assistance.
“In Kaipamangalam and across Kerala, many people are deserting the CPM and joining the BJP. CPM is showing its intolerant attitude and engaging in violence. It (CPM) is trying to show the world what happens to those who leave the party,” charged Rajasekharan. “But BJP will not bend its knees or turn away its face.”
Accusing the police of being lackadaisical, the state BJP chief asked for a scientific and strong investigation into Satheeshan’s ‘murder’ bringing to book those who were engaged in conspiracy behind the clashes.
On reports of CPM claiming that Satheeshan was one of their own, Rajasekharan shot back, “If he was their worker, then where are they? Why are they not mourning him?”
While the investigating officer, PC Bijukumar was not available for comment, an officer at the Mathilakam police station said four persons have been taken into custody. They have not been formally arrested yet and their identities are not known.
This is the second political death in the Kaipamangalam constituency. Last year, during the LDF victory procession after the Assembly elections, V Pramod, a BJP activist, was killed in the area. The incident had then attracted the attention of the BJP’s national leadership.
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