3 years

Political Violence

A Familiar Murderer in the PTA

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KOCHI ~ A teacher is murdered in cold blood in the classroom while he is teaching. The person convicted of the murder is awarded capital punishment, later commuted to life imprisonment by the Supreme Court. After serving eight years in jail, he is released by the state government. He is now President of the Parent Teacher Association in the same school. Strange are the ironies of political violence in Kerala’s Kannur district.

On 1 December 1999, KT Jayakrishnan, the then state vice-president of Yuva Morcha, the BJP’s youth wing, was hacked to death in front of his students in a classroom of East Mokeri Government UP School. With blood sprinkling on the faces of children, it was thought to be among the most horrific episodes of political violence between the RSS and CPM in Kannur.

A Pradeepan, a local CPM leader, and six others were arrested. One of the accused committed suicide during the trial, one was acquitted and five were sentenced to death by a session’s court. The High Court upheld the judgment. The Supreme Court acquitted four and only Pradeepan was left in jail.

In 2011, Pradeepan was released by Kerala’s former LDF government. He has now been elected as President of the Parent Teacher Association in the school. Pradeepan does not think this is outrageous. “You can talk to any teacher or parent. Everybody knows I am innocent. Nobody has any ill feeling towards me,” he claims. The school says it had no part in it. “I cannot comment. The PTA President is elected by parents, I have no role,” says a school official who does not want to be named.

K Renjith, Kannur district president of the BJP, pins the election on party politics. “The BJP is weak in that area. Hence there is nobody to question his becoming the PTA president,” he says.

KT Jayakumar, younger brother of the murder victim, was unaware of Pradeepan’s election when he was contacted . “Oh, is he president of the PTA?” he asks, “I did not know. The CPM is capable of anything.”