Kerala’s LDF government is under fire for the arrest of two Dalit sisters who questioned alleged casteist remarks made by CPM leaders against them in CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s home district Kannur. The sisters belong to a Congress family in CPM-dominated Kuttimakkool, near Thalassery. Their father N Rajan had contested against CPM in the last local body polls.
Trouble started after Anjana (25) and Akhila (30) dared to barge into a CPM branch office on June 11 to confront party leaders over the alleged insults.
Police filed a case against them based on a CPM complaint alleging that the sisters had attacked a party worker at the office and also damaged furniture.
With tensions rising, the Dalit women were called to the police station three days back, where their arrest was recorded. As police booked them under non-bailable charges, they were produced before a court that remanded them in judicial custody. Akhila went to the jail with her one-year-old daughter.
On Saturday, both were released on bail after the Congress state leadership stepped in for help. Walking out of jail, both denied allegations against them.
But the issue got another twist Saturday night after one of the sisters, Anjana, attempted suicide by consuming sleeping pills. Relatives alleged that Anjana was driven to suicide by a CPM leader’s comment on a TV channel calling the sisters a public nuisance.
While police has been sticking to its charges, Congress state president V M Sudheeran said there was no way two women could have attacked a CPM worker in a Left-dominated village. He also accused the police of acting under the pressure of CPM.
Meanwhile, Akhila has now accused the CPM of unleashing a malicious campaign against them. “The CPM workers used to repeatedly insult us by making casteist remarks. Hence, we had gone to the CPM office to question their behaviour. We neither attacked any party worker nor did we damage office furniture. My sister attempted suicide as she was unable to bear the insults from CPM leader P P Divya during a TV discussion,’’ said Akhila.
Asked about it, CM Vijayan said: “You should ask the police.”
CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan insisted that police were not prejudiced in the case. “It was the court that jailed them. One of them went to the police station with a child. Hence, the child was also jailed along with the mother,” said Balakrishnan.