PERIYA (KASARGOD): Grief and sorrow hung in the air. Their memories made Kalliyot cry, again. On Tuesday, around 2,000 women - mostly members of Mahila Congress - from across the state arrived at Kalliyot to revolt against the murders of Kripesh, 19, and Sarath Lal P K, 24. The women came as protesters but melted and became mourners. The Mahila Congress’ ‘confluence of mothers and sisters to protest against CPM’s political killing’ became an expression of public grieving in Kalliyot. The two shamianas pitched on either side of the road were packed with women.
The tent blocked the view of AKG Club that was vandalised and set on fire after the two murders. The organisers lined up top-rung female leaders of the Congress and punctuated their speeches with short videos of the lives Kripesh and Sarath Lal lived. The crowd could not hold back their tears when they saw a video of an acrobatic chenda melam in which the two slain youths were the star cast.
The boys of the troupe - Yuvajana Vadyakala Sangham-- who did not touch chenda and cymbals after their friends were murdered on February 17 -- gave a sombre yet resolute performance in front of Sarath Lal’s chenda. Seeing the unclaimed chenda, Ishan Dinesh, the four-year-old cousin took the drumsticks and played the broken rhythm.
‘CM should hear these cries’
The families of Sarath Lal and Kripesh visited the protest site for a short time. Speaking from the dais, Kripesh’s father Krishnan said he hoped the Chief Minister would be moved by the cries of these women and hand over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation. “He should open his eyes,” he said. Sarath Lal’s father Sathyanarayanan said he was determined to get “justice for his sons”. “I am not leaving it to the gods. The culprits should be punished under the laws of this land,” he said.
‘Killings will continue till leaders are not convicted’ Speakers at the confluence kept the CPM and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in their cross-hairs. Congress national secretary Shanimol Usman took a swipe at Pinarayi Vijayan for not visiting the families of Kripesh and Sarath Lal when he came to Kasargod. “Congress president Rahul Gandhi is coming to meet them and share their grief. But you don’t have the heart to call on them,” she said. Keeping up the attack, she said: “You don’t need to have ‘iratta chanku’ to govern. You just need a conscience and good heart,” she said, taking a dig at the Chief Minister’s sobriquet ‘Iratta Chankan.’
“Mothers should not say they do not have politics and stay away. This politics of killings has to be defeated politically,” she said. Women should be ready for unending protest to get justice for Kripesh and Sarath Lal, said RMP leader K K Rema, whose husband T P Chandrasekharan was hacked to death by CPM workers. “These killings are happening again and again because no leader has been convicted till now. I am still fighting the case to probe the conspiracy in comrade Chandrasekharan’s murder,” she said. The leaders have to be brought to justice to put end this violence, she said.
‘No space for intolerance’ Mahila Congress leader incharge of Kerala Chaman Farzana equated the lynching of people over beef to the political killings in Kerala. “If the BJP supporters kill people for the food habits, in Kerala the CPM is eliminating people with different political thoughts,” she said and added that both thoughts have to be defeated, not just electorally, but socially too. “There should be no space for such violent thoughts in society.”