Kerala Govt trying to save ‘criminal’ comrades

via Pioneer News Service | Kochi published on September 19, 2006

Four months into power, the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) Government in Kerala has launched in right earnest a devious ploy to save Marxist comrades involved in various criminal cases from the clutches of the law. Legal experts say that the paroles surreptitiously awarded to several CPI(M) activists jailed in different criminal cases bear testimony to this fact.

There is a definite attempt by the LDF Government to use the offices of the Cabinet to grant parole to Marxist activists jailed in criminal cases, say these experts. They cite the Kerala High Court’s observation in a case relating to the parole of Pius, a native of Vaduthala in Ernakulam, and a CPI(M) activist, who was found guilty of committing a political murder and had been sentenced to undergo life imprisonment. The court has now directed the Government to produce the entire file relating to the grant of parole to the life-time convict.

The Division Bench has directed the Government to produce the judgement against Pius, with the exact number of days he has undergone imprisonment and the total number of days he has been on parole, including emergency leave and study leave. Legal experts point out that this is one among many such cases.

The High Court, hearing a case relating to the granting of parole to political prisoners, who are CPI(M) cadre, has granted time to the State Government to file a detailed statement regarding the power of the Home Minister and the Cabinet to set free life-term convicts.

The Division Bench observed that the provision in the Kerala Prisons Rule enabling the Home Minister and the Cabinet to grant parole to convicts is prima facie beyond the legislative competence of the State Government. The court has noted that there is no provision in the Prisons Act enabling the State Government to exercise such a power.

Kerala has not effected any amendment in the Act and therefore the rule, which is contradictory to the parent Act, is prima facie unsustainable.

It is in this context, Sasi, father of Anu PS, one of the three ABVP activists killed by SFI and CPI(M) activists 10 years ago in Parumala, Pathanamathitta district express hopelessness as far as getting justice is concerned. Sasi’s hopelessness is shared by many in Kerala.

Three students belonging to the ABVP, Kim Karunakaran, Anu PS and Sujith, were brutally chased and drowned to death in river Pampa on September 17, 1996. Talking to The Pioneer, Sasi said, “Both the Sessions Court and the High Court have rejected our appeals. We are left with no hope now.”

The Parumala Balidana Smrithi Yatra, organised by the ABVP activists to observe the martyrdom of the three students of Travancore Devaswom Pampa College, Parumala, killed allegedly by CPI(M) and SFI activists, concluded on Tuesday, but the wait by the families of the murdered students for justice is continuing.

The yatra, which covered the two districts of Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha, and saw mourning by the activists concluded in Parumala-Mannar town. ABVP All-India general secretary KN Raghunandan and State secretary VP Rajivan addressed the gathering at the conclusion of the yatra.

Speaking on the occasion, Rajivan said that the brutal killing of the three students at Parumala was a moving testimony to Guruji Golwalkar’s observation that “communism as an ideology is incomplete and dangerous in practice.”

It has been 10 years since the Parumala incident that shook the conscience of the Kerala society took place.

An ABVP leader pointed to an observation in the sessions court judgement that ‘…in the said circumstances, the court can do nothing but shed tears and join the grief of the bereaved families’ in a clear reference to the inadequacy of investigations held into the case.

Legal experts say that the public prosecutors had ‘failed’ in successfully presenting the case before the court and that the State was least interested in the case. There were hundreds of people present on the spot when the conflict took place and the three students were forced to jump into the swollen river, said a Parumala resident. They had also seen how they were pelted with bricks and stones when the students floated on the water, he added. “But, somehow, the prosecutors failed to present the case properly,” he said.

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