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CPM youth wing men lock up Congress workers for ‘immoral activity’, booked

Soon video grabs of the two in the same room before the commotion started made it to social media, with the footnote, ‘Congress leaders were caught for immoral activity’.

A Congress leader and his party colleague were locked inside a building in Vatakara, north Kerala, by a group of men allegedly belonging to the CPM’s youth outfit DYFI, who accused them of “immoral activities” and distributed videos of them on social media. The couple, who had to be rescued by police, finally pressed for a medical examination to show they were “innocent”.

The incident happened last Friday. Thiruvaloor Murali, the president of the Thodannur block panchayat in Kozhikode district, was present at the office of a cooperative construction society of which he is the chairman. The society office at Vatakara has five staff members, three men and two women. A Mahila Congress district joint secretary joined the office that day on contract basis.

“When she came, all the employees were at the office,” said Murali. “Around noon, when staff members had gone away in connection with some work, I heard some commotion outside the office. I saw 50-odd men, including local DYFI activists, cameramen of local TV channels and photographers, waiting there.

They were shouting that immoral activity was going on at the office. They were also showering abuses on me.”

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Murali said he invited the cameramen and alleged DYFI activists into the office to see for themselves that nothing like that was on. However, he said, while on their way out, they took away a lock of his office kept on his table. “They locked the office from outside and again began shouting about immoral activity at the office. I was in my room and the woman leader in another room nearby. We could not leave as the office was locked. The gathering outside the office began to swell.”

Soon video grabs of the two in the same room before the commotion started made it to social media, with the footnote, ‘Congress leaders were caught for immoral activity’. Posters also came up in the area.

As the crowd swelled and tension mounted, police arrived and took away Murali and the Mahila Congress leader to the local station. As police escorted them out, the couple were abused and slogans were shouted against them. Their photos were taken with mobile phones by the crowd.

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At the police station, Murali and the woman leader were detained for hours, and subjected to questioning. The angry couple then demanded that they be subjected to medical examination to rule out sexual intercourse.

Police took them to a local government hospital. “We got the report from the hospital to show no immoral activity had taken place. It was only by late evening that we could come out of police custody. The test was necessary to prove our innocence,” said Murali.

Vatakara Deputy Superintendent of Police Prajeesh Thottatil said police had registered a case against 20 men, including DYFI activists. Denying they had taken Murali and the woman leader into custody, Thottatil added, “Police took them to the station to ensure their protection. They were not taken to the station as accused. They were not in custody as accused.”

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CPM Kozhikode district secretary P Mohanan said the DYFI as an organisation was not involved in moral policing. “Some local people had doubts over the Congress leaders being in the building and raised a commotion. DFYI men might have gone to the scene along with others. DYFI men might have interfered in the issue as local people. But police should have dealt with the issue in a more judicious manner,” said Mohanan.

Murali said he would approach the human rights commission seeking action against the culprits. “The DYFI men should have thought about our families when they resorted to such a heinous act of moral policing.”

The woman leader would separately move the women’s commission, he said, “seeking remedy for the traumatic experience”.

First published on: 14-03-2016 at 03:12:48 am
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