The ruling CPM in Kerala has come under fire for the murder of an Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) worker, who was acquitted in the murder of a CPM activist last year. IUML’s Muhammed Aslam was hacked to death at Nadapuram in north Kerala on Friday.
Aslam was among 17 IUML workers who were acquitted by a trial court two months ago in the murder case of CPM worker Shibin Bhaskaran. The CPM had expressed shocked and disappointment at the verdict. Two weeks ago, CPM’s state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had urged party workers to be ready to hit back at rivals.
Reacting to the murder, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said the CPM had “executed the verdict of the party court”. “The issue is very serious. It was a barbaric act to kill a person who was acquitted by the court. Instead of the party court ordering to butcher acquitted persons, CPM should have taken legal steps,” Chennithala said.
He said the murder should be seen against the backdrop of Balakrishnan’s statement that the party would react to murders of its cadre promptly.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan called the murder unfortunate. Nadapuram, which has a history of communal and political murders, remained tense Saturday, amid fears of more retaliatory attacks. All 17 IUML workers who were acquitted belong to Nadapuram.
“We had strengthened surveillance after the court verdict. But it was not possible to give personal security to them. Despite heavy police deployment, the assailants managed to attack,” police sources said.
Police said a six-member gang in an SUV hit Aslam, who was riding a scooter. When he tried to get away, the assailants hacked him, police said.