THRISSUR: “You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep spring from coming.” The famous line by Pablo Neruda was quoted in ‘Vasanthathile Poomarangal’, a novel by the recently arrested Maoist Roopesh alias Praveen from Peringottukara. Such was his belief in armed revolution that he waged war against the state for almost a decade, resulting in more than twenty criminal cases registered against him.
It was in his days of pursuing pre-degree course at SN College in Naattika that he first became actively involved in the student arm of CPI (ML- Red Flag). “After that, he joined CPI ML- Janasakthi), before moving on to CPI (ML- People’s War). Later, the parties merged to form CPI (Maoist),” said a comrade who had known Roopesh since his days in the student union.“ There was a lot of factionalism within the earlier CPI (ML) and Roopesh was one among the many that defected in favour of armed revolution,” he said.
In his novel, published under two different names - ‘Vasanthathile Poomarangal’ and ‘Maoist’, Roopesh mentions in the author’s preface that his wife Shyna, who was arrested along with him, was the anchor that kept him rooted to his ideology. “I never imagined that the girl I first spoke politics to and invited to the student union at college would later enter my life,” he says in the preface.
According to sources who were once close to Roopesh, the couple had first met at SN College in Naattika during their pre-degree years. Both of them were active in Kerala Vidyarthi Sanghatana (KVS), the student arm of CPI (ML Red Flag). “She had later moved on to take a B Pharm degree and started working at a medical shop near Vadanappilly. He, however, was active in SFI while studying at Malampuzha ITI. During that time, an incident occurred where he was very beaten up by ABVP activists. It drew both of them close together and not soon after, they were married,” said a source. Their old comrades remember Shyna as a firebrand activist right from school days. “She was the most active protester in KVS-led agitations for a P Rajan memorial statue,” said an old friend.
After marriage, Shyna had obtained an LLB degree, followed by Roopesh. She was later employed as an upper division clerk at the Kerala High Court. The couple had gone underground in 2007, after the police arrested notorious Maoist leader Malla Raji Reddy from their house in Angamaly. Incidentally, the recently deceased Maoist leader Sinoj aka Ramesan lived close to Roopesh’s residence, at Vadanappilly. However, sources claim that the two had never crossed paths before working together in the same squad in the Maoist party.