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Attack on MLA kin snowballs into political row

Attack on MLA kin snowballs into political row

Author: PNS
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: February 9, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/155321/Attack-on-MLA-kin-snowballs-into-political-row.html

The issue of the abduction of and attack on Shruti, daughter of CPI(M)'s Manjeswaram MLA CH Kunhambu, and a Muslim boy while travelling by bus from Kasaragod to Mangalore inside Karnataka territory on Friday is set to turn into a political controversy with the BJP alleging that the MLA has been using own daughter to gain political mileage.

Five persons had been arrested by the Karnataka Police in connection with the attack. The BJP has alleged that all of them belong to Left outfits while Kunhambu and the CPI(M) have accused Sri Ram Sena of attacking the girl and her Muslim friend.

Kunhambu said he was not confident of getting justice from the Karnataka Police. He alleged that those arrested were not the real culprits. However, the MLA had on Saturday said that Satheesh, the conductor of the bus by which the girl and the boy had traveled and who was arrested on Saturday, was a "BJP activist, goonda and a rogue."

Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha's State president K Surendran said in Kasaragod on Sunday that Kunhambu is using his own daughter to create a Hindu-Muslim divide in Kasaragod for political mileage, accusing Hindu forces of playing a role in the attack.

"What the Manjeswaram MLA is doing now is something no people's representative in civilised society would do. We want a thorough probe to be held into the incident. All those arrested in the case are from Left outfits," Surendran said.

Sri Ram Sena general secretary BK Singh had earlier alleged that the MLA was using own daughter in order to defame the Sena. Sena chief Pramod Muthalik had denied any role of his outfit in the incident.

Shruti, a second-year pre-degree student of St Aloysius College, Mangalore, was going back to her hostel from home by a private bus, Vaisakh, from Kasaragod. She had been talking to a Muslim boy Shabeeb, a brother of her classmate. As they were preparing to get down at their stop, a gang of young men attacked them and took both of them in an autorikshaw via an unknown route.

The abductors, however, dropped Shruti at the police station in Kadri, but only after giving her a "lecture" on how a Hindu girl should live in society, reminding her of the ideology of the Sri Ram Sena. The boy was released after an hour and Shruti said the gang had beaten him up brutally even in front of her.

Kunhambu and his party, CPI(M), had immediately put the blame on Sri Ram Sena, which they alleged was part of the Sangh Pariwar or had originated with inspiration drawn from the RSS. The Karnataka Police rounded up ten young men, including the conductor of the bus, who had reportedly informed the gang, perhaps over a mobile phone, about the girl speaking to a Muslim boy.

BJP State general secretary MT Ramesh had on Saturday said that the conductor of the bus, who had been held by the police, was a member of the CITU and that his whole family had Leftist leanings, which Kunhambu denied. The MLA said the young man was a BJP activist, "a goonda and a rogue" though his father was a leader of the CPI. However, even before 24 hours were out since that statement, Kunhambu said none of the arrested persons were the real culprits and that the Karnataka Police was not taking proper action to nab the actual culprits.

Sources in the Karnataka Police said there was no question of getting influenced by any party in its probe into the incident and that more inquiries would indeed be carried out if the CPI(M) MLA from Kerala, his daughter or any other responsible organisation desired so.

However, with the BJP's allegation against Kunhambu and its demand for a thorough probe into the matter, it is now up to Kunhambu and the CPI(M) to do everything in their power to get the true culprits caught, say observers.

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