KANHANGAD: After serving the Police Department for 33 years, 68-year-old C Balakrishnan retired as an SI in 2005. His two sons Bijish, 31, and Binesh, 29, also donned the khaki later. Still, the veteran feels insecure in his own village in Madikai gram panchayat, a CPM bastion. Balakrishnan’s alleged mistake: He tried to set up an SNDP branch at Kolikkunnu in the panchayat in 2010.Signalling towards the armed policeman who stands guard outside his house round-the-clock, Balakrishnan says, “I got the protection just two weeks ago because I moved the High Court.”
“The officer can only protect me from bodily harm. What saddens me is I feel alienated in my own village,” says Balakrishnan. This year, Balakrishnan did not cultivate his paddy field spread over 45 cents. “No one is ready to work on my field,” he says.
CPM rejects charge
CPM leaders in Madikai said not just Balakrishnan’s, but most of the fields in the panchayat were lying fallow due to the dearth of labourers. It is true Balakrishnan tried to form an SNDP unit here. But he was left alone, says A V Balakrishnan, a committee secretary of CPM in Madikai.
N K Krishnan, another CPM local committee secretary, says while there had been “an issue” in 2010, there was no trouble since then. “I live next door to Balakrishnan. Now, he has come to us for a compromise, but I have told him we can take a decision on the matter only after discussing it with the party,” he said.
‘My family was troubled’
C Balakrishnan recalls how on April 27, 2010, a group of CPM workers led by then panchayat president and local secretary came to his house and threatened to kill him if he persisted with his plan to set up an SNDP branch there. “I remember the day vividly. It was a hartal day,” he says. After leaving his house, the group allegedly assaulted a few SNDP office-bearers at Nara, he says. As per a police complaint, the group returned to his house in several vehicles and assaulted his family. “They assaulted my three children, my wife and me. I broke the bridge of my nose,” he says. “Yet, no one was ready to take me to the hospital,” he says. Balakrishnan alleges though he told the Nileshwaram police 29 persons, including the CPM panchayat president and local secretary, assaulted him, the SI manipulated his statement.
“The FIR did not mention many of the names I gave. Even my signature on it was forged,” he says. “On May 19, 2016, when the LDF won the Assembly elections, some miscreants lit crackers and threw it inside my house,” he says. Venu, the leader of SNDP Kanhangad union, says once, some people dug up his road to deny him access. “They also diverted the drain toward his sister’s well,” Venu says.
“They bared their viciousness when they contaminated my sister’s well,” said Balakrishnan. He says though his neighbours do not nurse any animosity towards him, they are scared to have a friendly relationship.“I had been under pressure to withdraw the 2010 case registered against CPM workers in the Nileshwaram police station. But I am not giving up,” he says, adding he will also expose the police which tried to dilute his case.