Families Seek Justice Amid Political Blame-Game After Kerala Killings

The incident comes just weeks after the Kerala High Court allowed a CBI probe to continue in the murder case of two Youth Congress workers in Kasaragod in February 2019

Families Seek Justice Amid Political Blame-Game After Kerala Killings

Mithil Raj and Haq Mohammadwere were attacked by armed men in Thiruvananthapuram

Thiruvananthapuram:

Haq Mohammad, 24, had a love marriage. He leaves behind his four-month pregnant wife, a one-year-old-child and parents. "What is there to say? Everything is lost," Haq's mother Shaheeda told NDTV. As she tears up again, relatives take her inside.

Some 20 km away from Thiruvananthapuram city, two families are devastated and in grief after two young men were hacked and stabbed to death on the eve of Onam. The two - Haq Mohammad and Mithilaj, 32 - were local leaders of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the youth wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M).

The police First Information Report (FIR) has named some Congress workers as accused.

"How will this small father-less child grow up? There's another child in the womb. Who will take care of the mother and the child? The children have lost their father forever. The wife must be given assistance and the accused punished. People must stop defaming my dead son. He was loved by all," Haq's father Abdul Shamad told NDTV.

Both families have one thing to say - "this must not happen to any other family".

According to the FIR, "Congress activists carried out the murder. The accused confronted the victims with the intention to kill them. They were forcibly dragged, stabbed and hacked with swords and knife."

The FIR names Sajeev, Ansar and four others. Among the accused also are those involved in an attack on a DYFI worker, Faisal, local leaders of the area alleged. The police have confirmed Sajeev was involved in an earlier case as well.

The Congress in the state has said the party has nothing to do with the killings. "This is an unfortunate incident which happened between two gangs. Indian National Congress has no role in it. District level party report states that no party leadership has been a part of this. There is a police probe underway, let the findings be out," Congress state president Mullapally Ramachandran told reporters on Tuesday.

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A day after the killings, Mr Ramachandran had alleged that there have been attacks by CPI(M) activists on hundreds of Congress offices and institutions across Kerala.

CCTV footage shows the brutal killing, with a gang of men attacking the victims.

"We will give you money for the loss or damage caused to the buildings. Can you give us back the two lives?" a relative of Mithilaj said outside his ancestral home, where the family is grieving.

"We have taken seven people into custody, of which four have been arrested. The main accused Sajeev is also in police custody. All have links to Congress and UDF," B Asokan, district police chief, Thiruvananthapuram Rural, told NDTV.

The incident comes just weeks after the Kerala High Court allowed a CBI probe to continue in the murder case of two Youth Congress workers in Kasaragod in February 2019. The killings were widely condemned by the Congress leadership and the public.

Among the accused in the case are also CPI(M) workers. The families of the two youths have slammed the killings as political, an allegation the CPI(M) has denied.

"It's for all the party leaders to stop this. The language they use to condemn or play down an incident, their responses are closely watched by party workers. Party leaders have to draw a line and ensure their followers are told that it is not crossed. Workers must know that they will not be protected by their party. That message needs to go out. There is no good murder or bad murder. What is nasty and inhuman, remains just that," rights activist and political commentator BRP Bhaskar told NDTV.