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Keralites with Bengal connection cautioned

Posted by Admin on January 28, 2008

Thiruvananthapuram • Anyone in Kerala who had also lived in Bengal, beware! The Kerala police could take you for a Maoist, raid your premises and launch proceedings. This is what happened to C Jayashree, the former principal of the Oriental English Medium School at Thriprayar in the central Kerala district of Thrissur. Her Bengal connection is that she had lived in Bengal for two years as part of her daughter’s education.

Two vanloads of policemen barged into her residence yesterday, supposedly searching for a laptop that had belonged to CPI (Maoist) Central Committee member Malla Raji Reddy. Both Reddy and his wife, Suguna alias Sangeetha, were arrested from a town near Kochi in December.

The laptop, according to the police, contained secret files and correspondence of Malla Raji Reddy and this has been taken for safe keep by someone close to the jailed leader, already facing various charges, including murder, in Andhra Pradesh.

Jayashree had come under the police radar after the local netas of the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) alleged that she was “a woman with dubious identity because she had lived in Bengal for two years and had links to Maoists”. The police searched in vain for hours and left the house, threatening her and husband, K A Appu because they had refused to sign on the mahzar without t reading the contents.

Former Supreme Court justice V R Krishna Iyer — after Jayashree apprised him of the police action — rang up Home Minister Kodyeri Balakrishnan and asked him to stop such “senseless police acts against innocent citizens”. The Minister apparently had no clue to what had taken place and promised “to look into the matter”.

Local CPM activists have been at loggerheads with Jayashree for running a campaign against brick-making units that sprung on what had been once an extensive stretch of paddy. Some 700 migrant labor, especially those from Bengal, make up the major workforce. They live close to brick-kilns at make shift camps lacking in proper hygiene and sanitation, seriously impacting the local environment.

Jayashree and concerned people of Erayamkudi and Elvaur panchayats on the Ernakulam-Thrissur border formed a people’s committee and launched a satyagraha on November 29 last year, demanding the closure of brick-kilns and resumption of paddy cultivation. “This antagonised the local CPM leaders, who have thrived on the brick-making industry. They had tried all possible things against us but when we then realized we wouldn’t relent, they branded me a Malla Raji Reddy sympathizer”.

But Jayshree says there’s no giving up. She had taken the case right up to Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan. The Revenue Divisional Officer had cleared a plan to resume paddy cultivation. The people’s committee plans to plan to sow the seeds in February, hoping to restore paddy on nearly 700 acres.

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