Nearly three months after the murder of two Youth Congress workers in Kasaragod district of Kerala, the Crime Branch team of the Kerala Police recorded the arrest of two local leaders of the CPI(M) for allegedly destroying evidence and aiding the killers. The two CPM leaders were released on bail after being presented before the first-class judicial magistrate in Hosdurg.
Kripesh (24) and Sarath Lal (21) were hacked to death by unidentified members of a gang on the night of February 17 in Periya while they were returning from an event. The murders were a continuation of the brutal struggle for political supremacy between the Left and the Congress parties in the area. It was widely believed that the two Youth Congress workers were resisting the advances of the CPM in the village. The disturbances between the two parties kicked off after a Congress student wing worker was assaulted allegedly by SFI workers in a college in the area. This resulted in a counter-attack by Youth Congress workers, including Kripesh, on a CPM local committee member. Kripesh, who was an accused in the assault case, had stepped out on bail when he was murdered that night.
While the Congress pointed fingers at the involvement of the CPM local leadership behind the murders, the party responded saying such allegations were baseless. But in the immediate aftermath of the incident, A Peethambaran, a local committee member of the CPM in Periya, was arrested and remanded to police custody.
Now, three months later, the CPM’s Uduma area secretary K Manikandan and local committee secretary M Balakrishnan, have been arrested by the crime branch. Both leaders were summoned to the office of the Crime Branch and formally arrested.
The parents of both Kripesh and Sarath Lal have expressed that they have zero faith in the investigation of the local police, given that the state is ruled by the CPM-led LDF. Demanding a probe by the CBI into the case, they have approached the Kerala High Court which will hear the matter on May 25. The state Congress leadership has also sought a probe by the CBI in the murder case.