Updated: June 13, 2020 7:19:53 am
The CPI(M) leaders in Kerala have given a hero’s farewell on the death of a local leader from Kannur district, who was in 2014 convicted in a political murder case and sentenced to life imprisonment.
P K Kunjananthan, 72, member of CPI(M) area committee at Panur, Kannur, died of an intestinal infection at Medical College Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram, Thursday night. He was on bail on health grounds at the time of death. Kunjananthan, along with 11 others, was held guilty in the murder of CPI (M) rebel leader T P Chandrasekharan in 2012 in Kozhikode district.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan led party leaders in condoling Kunjananthan’s death. Vijayan hailed the deceased leader as “a comrade who had selflessly loved the party and exhibited concern towards society. As a social worker, he had won the acceptance and love of all sections of people in Panur”.
After Kunjananthan’s death, several leaders, including CPI(M) central committee members A Vijayaraghavan and M V Govindan, went to the hospital, where slogan-shouting cadres dubbed the deceased as a “martyr who will never die”.
State minister and CPI(M) central committee member E P Jayarajan said, “Defending the attacks of rivals, Kunjananthan had played a crucial role in building up CPI(M) at Panur region. He had deep love towards party.’’
At Panur, scores of CPI(M) leaders and workers paid tribute and observed a hartal to pay obeisance to Kunjananthan. He and the others were sentenced to life imprisonment in 2014 by a Kozhikode court.
In the long history of political murders in north Kerala, conviction of a party leader had until then been unprecedented.
After CPI(M) led the LDF back to power in 2016, Kunjananthan was granted parole frequently, which had drawn flak from the High Court after Chandrasekharan’s widow K K Rama questioned the government’s decisions. On March 14 this year, when the High Court allowed Kunjananthan bail for three months for treatment, he had already enjoyed 400 days of parole.
The 11 other convicted, mainly the killer gang, also allegedly got special treatment in jail.
During his parole days, Kunjananthan had attended party events and conferences and eventually got elected to the CPI(M) area committee despite his conviction in a murder case.
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