Residents fear for safety as vacant Kannur homes turn into bomb-making hubs

When there is a police raid, party workers shift explosives to other locations, which end up killing people and damaging property.
Representational image
Representational image

KANNUR: “We are ordinary people. We don’t want to be killed in a bomb explosion.” This is what Seena, a resident of Eranholi near Thalassery, had to say on Wednesday, a day after her neighbour, 90-year-old Velayudhan K K, died in an accidental bomb blast.

Velayudhan died while unwittingly trying to open a steel bomb he found at his neighbour’s vacant plot at Eranholi. Speaking to reporters visiting the spot, a visibly-agitated Seena said, “All those who live here know the truth, but none is willing to come forward and say it as they are afraid of the repercussions.”

Seena said they had rented out a house nearby some 15 years ago. “However, the tenants vacated the house saying they had spotted bombs in the vicinity. This has been going on for a long time, but now things have come out in the open after the tragic death,” she said.

“We want to live in peace. Our children should be allowed to play outside without fear. All uninhabited houses in the area are bomb-making hubs,” Seena said.

Violent past

  • Oct 1998: Amavasi, a ragpicker from TN, hurt in an accidental blast in Kannur, loses sight in one eye

  • Sept 27, 2000: Asna loses a leg in a blast while playing on her house’s premises

  • Feb 26, 2011: 5 IUML workers killed while making bombs at Narikkatteri in Kozhikode

  • April 21, 2016: BJP worker P Dikshith killed in an explosion in Kannur

  • June 6, 2015: CPM workers Shaiju & Subeesh killed near Panur in Kannur

  • April 11, 2023: BJP worker Vishnu hurt in accidental blast in Thalassery

  • April 5, 2024: CPM worker Sherin killed, 2 others injured in blast at Panur

‘They may harm us, but someone should come up with fact’

Seena said that three bombs were seen in the vicinity in Eranholi but party workers (CPM men) shifted them in secret. They may harm us or throw bombs at our house, but someone should speak out. I am telling this for the benefit of others too.

Meanwhile, CPM alleged that Seena’s words aimed at defaming the entire area. “The charge that uninhabited houses are bomb-making hubs is an insult to Kannur and Eranholi,” said former panchayat president Remya.

CPM Kannur district secretary M V Jayarajan demanded a comprehensive probe into the blast. In a statement, he said the explosion had taken place in an area that has a strong presence of the BJP and the Congress. The police have launched a massive search for explosives. All vacant areas have been identified and police teams pressed into service to find concealed explosives in Panur, Thalassery and New Mahe areas.

However, the terrain’s peculiarity and residents’ non-cooperation make things difficult for the police. When there is a police raid, party workers shift explosives to other locations, which end up killing people and damaging property.

Vadakara MP-elect Shafi Parambil, who visited Velayudhan’s house, told reporters that the lack of freedom for police comes in the way of ending the menace permanently. He said voters in Malabar gave a reply to the bomb culture in the Lok Sabha elections. Those who make bombs should realise that the election results have proved people want peace.

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The New Indian Express