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The Prison Social Network

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Undertrials of an infamous political murder case in Kerala are found active on Facebook in jail
For prisoners in Kerala, especially those with the backing of a powerful political party, being in jail can still mean a happy social-networking life. Undertrials in a political murder case that shocked the state last year have allegedly been making regular updates on Facebook and uploading their latest photos from inside Kozhikode jail.

The accused— MC Anoop, Manoj Kirmani, Kodi Suni alias V K Sunil Kumar, Mohammed Shafi, Annan Sijith, Shinoj Kohinoor and Rajith Compara—are associated with the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) and facing trial for the murder of TP Chandrashekharan, leader of the Revolutionary Marxist Party, who broke away from the party. In jail, they were active on Facebook through smart phones. The profile pictures of all except one is the same—an image of Che Guevara. Their Timelines are flooded with messages of ‘red salute’ from ‘comrades’. All of them except Mohammed Shafi has the same cover photo—the flag of the CPM’s youth wing Democratic Youth Federation of India.

Annan Sijith has shared CPM Politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s status on the recently conducted party plenum at Palakkadu, which ended up with a call for a ‘better disciplined personal life’ for comrades. The images uploaded include the accused wearing Bermudas, T-Shirts and goggles.

CPM leaders are unwilling to comment on the ostentatious commitment of the accused to the party. The CPM has never acknowledged their ‘connection’ with the party and has publicly denounced Kodi Suni alias Sunil Kumar as a hired goonda.

Alexander Jacob, ADGP of Jail Administration, refuses to comment on the matter. He only hints that a conspiracy cannot be ruled out, suggesting that it could have been done by somebody outside jail to put the government in trouble. Kerala Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishan told the media he would look into the matter.

After the Facebook updates stirred a controversy, the police conducted a raid but did not find mobile phones or laptops. There have been no fresh updates but CPM supporters continue to post ‘Congratulations’ on their pages. Meanwhile, the Kozhikode jail superintendent has been suspended.