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Mobiles for murder

Police report,blow by blow: 11am CPM car attacked * 12.30pm 5 captured

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram |
August 2, 2012 12:42:07 am

At 11am on February 20,a group of Indian Union Muslim League activists attacked CPM leaders travelling in a vehicle in Ariyil in Kannur. At 2.30pm,the IUML’s Abdul Shukoor,21,was murdered.

In between,the Kerala police say,CPM activists rounded up five suspects,clicked their images and circulated these among their comrades,mobile to mobile. This apparently led to three being found innocent,and they were released. A fourth escaped with injuries. And Shukoor was hacked to death because someone had allegedly identified him,rightly or wrongly,as one of the attackers.

It is in connection to this murder that P Jayarajan,the CPM’s district secretary,was arrested Wednesday.

The police have reconstructed the attack and the murder,blow by blow,in a report submitted to the High Court. Jayarajan,MLA T V Rajesh and local leaders were touring Ariyil,site of frequent political clashes. Such a clash had taken place only the previous day,and the leaders were taking stock when their vehicle was attacked. Jayarajan,Rajesh and the others were admitted to a party-run cooperative hospital in the town of Taliparamba.

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Shukoor’s family denies he was in the group. They say he was at home in the morning,then stepped out with four friends. One of them had been injured while playing and the rest were taking him to Cherukunnu hospital for first aid.

From Ariyil,they crossed the river by boat and landed at Keezhara,a CPM-dominated area,from where they would have caught a bus to Cherukunnu. It was while they were midstream that local CPM leaders alerted their comrades that some IUML leaders “were escaping from Ariyil after attacking Jayarajan and others”,the report says.

At Keezhara,they apparently sensed they were being followed,and tried to hide inside a house. By 12.30pm,it was surrounded by the men shadowing them,and the crowd outside soon swelled.

Once the photographs had been clicked and circulated,word reached the family. Shukoor’s brother contacted a local CPM leader pleading for mercy but the leader reportedly said “Shukoor would have to face the music”. Going by the police report,this would have been around the time Shukoor’s fate was being decided in one of the rooms at the hospital where Jayarajan and Rajesh were admitted.

CPM local secretary U V Venu,who was in that room,reportedly asked branch secretary Babu to help identify those captured. Once someone identified Shukoor,the police say,Venu gave the order and a group of killers led by a DYFI leader,Ganesh,reached the spot.

The release of three of the captives left only Shukoor and Zacharia,who is a relative of his. They were taken to a field “for further questioning”,reportedly pleading innocence. Only Zacharia escaped,but with deep wounds.

In the months that followed,the police arrested 27 local CPM leaders,not counting Jayarajan. The reconstruction comes in a report submitted to the court to oppose a bail plea by some of the accused.

The report names the CPM’s Dinesh as one of those who captured the images. Last month,police recovered a weapon from the home of a young CPM activist and suspect this was the one with which Shukoor was hacked to death.

CPM leaders have been saying Shukoor was in the group that attacked the vehicle. The IUML has denied it while Shukoor’s family has served a legal notice asking the CPM to withdraw the allegation.

The charge against Jayarajan,who belongs to state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan’s faction,is concealing the design to commit an offence punishable with death or life term. Jayarajan,questioned twice earlier,was summoned today for a third round. Discrepancies between his and Rajesh’s statements went against him. His arrest was recorded half an hour after his arrival in the police station. A magistrate’s court in Kannur remanded him in judicial custody for two weeks.

Vijayan warned of a massive CPM agitation. Party workers attacked public property,police stations,and IUML offices at several places. Police have clamped prohibitory orders in Kannur for two days,while the CPM has declared a statewide bandh on Thursday. In Delhi,the CPM polituburo stated,“This arrest is a deliberate act motivated by political considerations.”

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