Inside Kerala’s spiral of revenge politics
Two back-to-back killings of political rivals — with communal overtones — in Alappuzha district have shattered the peace. Sam Paul A. reports on the murders of the two friends from rival organisations, and why both the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Popular Front of India are spreading hatred against each other
As twilight descended upon Mannancherry in Alappuzha on Saturday evening (December 18), Fanzilla called her husband K.S. Shan to enquire when he would be home. “Very soon,” was the prompt reply. The couple’s two daughters, Hiba Fathima (12) and Liya Fathima (4), waited, yearning to spend the evening with their busy ‘vappi’ (dad) who was not always around to care for them due to his many commitments. The wait only got longer and ended in tears and tragedy.
Shan, the State Secretary of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the political arm of the Islamic organisation Popular Front of India (PFI), also ran an interior design products shop at Mannancherry for a living. Following the brief phone call, Shan, who had already closed the shop, hopped on his motorbike for a four-kilometre ride home to Ponnad (ward 4) in Mannancherry gram panchayat. Once he entered the Mannancherry-Ponnad road, a white car started tailing his two-wheeler. When he reached Kuppezham Junction (Masjid Junction) around 7.30 p.m., the car rear-ended the bike and knocked him down. The intentional road accident and what followed were caught on a CCTV camera on the compound of an under-construction house in the location. Four men jumped out of the vehicle and three , who was lying in the middle of the road, with iron rods and sharp-edged weapons. While the assailants carried out the deadly attack, the driver of the car blocked the road by putting the vehicle across. The entire episode lasted less than two minutes and the assailants sped away.
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Police said the incident took place on March 27, when a group of persons forced a woman, who had entered the fort for sight-seeing, to remove her hijab; one of the perpetrators took a video of the incident and circulated it on social media platforms; police have warned the public against circulating the video further
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