Years-old dispute over Che Guevara’s bust reaches Kochi corporation council’s doors

On the corporation secretary’s directive, the report has been submitted before the council, which will take a call in its meeting on Friday.
Che Guevara’s bust installed in Chakkaraparambu division
Che Guevara’s bust installed in Chakkaraparambu division Photo | Gladys Rajan

KOCHI: In 2009, Che Guevara Boys, an NGO formed by youths from the locality, installed a bust of the Marxist revolutionary, at the Chakkaraparambu division of the Kochi corporation. Over the years, the bust gained prominence as an iconic landmark. However, for Chakkaraparambu resident K A Asharaf, the bust was an eyesore. He was displeased with the fact that it was placed right in front of his house.

For years now, Asharaf has been campaigning for the bust’s removal, claiming it was erected on the land he owned and that it obstructed pedestrian and vehicular traffic. A few months ago, his complaint was submitted to the corporation.

In response, standing committee chairmen P R Ranish (development) and Sanilmon J (town planning), and division councillor K B Harshal inspected the site with the superintending engineer concerned.

“It was found the bust does not obstruct pedestrian or vehicular traffic. It is situated between two KSEB posts and, at first glance, the obstructions claimed by the complainant were not evident. Also, there are no authoritative documents or copies available to prove the land is owned by the complainant,” said Ranish.

On the corporation secretary’s directive, the report has been submitted before the council, which will take a call in its meeting on Friday.

Jos P X, a member of Che Guevara Boys, said the group was formed by people having different political affiliations. “Despite Che Guevara being a prominent figure for the Leftist party, we admire him for his fight against imperialism and socio-economic inequality,” he said.

Youths, residents urge corp not to remove bust

Youth and residents of Chakkaraparambu have signed and submitted a petition to the corporation, requesting the bust not be removed as it has become synonymous with the area.

“The complainant is trying to settle personal scores with youths of the area by demanding the bust’s removal. He claimed it was installed on the land he gave to the corporation to ease the movement of traffic. However, he does not possess any proof of it, and as per records, it is ‘poramboke’ land,” said Jos, adding that Asharaf and his family are Congress supporters.

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