Jail for 3 Marxists for attack on victim of Red ostracism

via PNS | Kozhikode published on November 30, 2009

 A court in Kozhikode on Monday sentenced three CPI(M) workers for attempting to murder Vineetha R Kottayi of Pathirippatta in the district and her neighbour Kallulla Parambath Kelappan to four years’ rigorous imprisonment. Vineetha, a widow, was the victim of Marxist ostracism in their village for more than a decade.

The Fast Track-I Court of Kozhikode also slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 each on the convicts. They would have to undergo six months additional imprisonment if the fine was not remitted. Those sentenced to imprisonment were former CPI(M) branch secretary Edappally Chirayil Balan, his wife Narayani and Chirakkal Mohan whom the court had found guilty of the crime on Saturday.

Out of the total Rs 30,000 to be paid by the convicts as fine, Rs 22,500 had to be given to Kelappan and the rest to Vineetha. The attempt to murder murder Vineetha and her neighbour Kelappan had taken place on January 31, 2004. The three convicts also were Vineetha’s neighbours in Pathirippatta.

Responding to the judgement, Vineetha said she was satisfied with the court’s decision, adding that this was a lesson to the CPI(M). “It should serve as a lesson to the CPI(M) and all those who commit crimes. Nobody should try to isolate and persecute a hapless woman for so long a time just because she does not have anybody to approach for support,” she said.

Kelappan had described to a television channel about the difficulties Vineetha was forced to undergo due to the non-cooperation of the local workers under the command of the CPI(M). The attack on them by the party functionaries took place after the television channel telecast the news. The report, which described how the CPI(M) had imposed an effective ostracism on Vineetha and her family by disallowing even workers to enter her house, had provoked the local CPI(M).

The Prosecution, which argued for Vieetha and Kelappan, examined 11 witnesses and produced 22 documents while the defenders’ counsel examined one witness and presented eight documents in the court. The case had raised a lot of political dust in Kerala.

The rivalry between Vineetha and the local unit of the Kerala State Karshaka Thozhilali Union (KSKTU) after the widow questioned some alleged malpractice by a worker in her house. The KSKTU had reportedly taken this as an affront on the working class and adopted retaliatory actions against Vineetha.

According to reports, she was not allowed for over a decade to carry out agricultural activities in her own three-acre plot, to take the yields from it or to move freely in the village or visit her relatives. Even her family was not allowed to procure vegetables, provisions, etc from the shops in the village. She had even complained that the water in her well was polluted or poisoned.

After she launched a fight against this ostracism on her own through representations to leaders and the police and Satyagrahas, she was attacked in her own house in May 2005. According to Vineetha, the assailants doused her in kerosene while she was asleep and tried to set her ablaze. But the CPI(M) maintained that nothing of the sort ever took place.

However, the State Human Rights Commission initiated a probe on its own into the incidents. Commission member S Varghese and M Kamalam, then chairperson of the State Women’s Commission, visited Vineetha in the Medical College Hospital, Kozhikode, where she was undergoing treatment.

The Vineetha Kottayi issue created sharp differences even within the CPI(M) organization with its women’s win, the All India Democratic Women’s Association announcing its willingness to protect Vineetha, which the KSKTU saw as an unwarranted reaction.

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