House owner defies pressure to withdraw complaint; reconstruction begins

For Kumaramangalam, whose house was illegally demolished when he was away at work last week, the wheel seems to have almost turned full circle. Construction material for rebuilding his house is pouring in from the local legislator, his neighbours are lending a helping hand and the police are backing him.

But there is a catch: a section of people are pressuring him to withdraw his complaint, the prime accused being Mahesh Kumar, the legislator’s brother who is cooling his heels in judicial custody.

On the one hand, truckloads of sand and bricks are making a beeline for the reconstruction, courtesy local Janata Dal (Secular) legislator Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy. On the other, he is coming under increasing pressure to return the favour by taking back his original complaint which will then free Mahesh Kumar from the case.

Help offered

Mr. Kumaramangalam, on Monday, started reconstruction of his house which was demolished exactly a week earlier. His neighbours joined in the bhoomi puja (foundation ceremony) and assured him of all help. The neighbours, it may be recalled, were nowhere in sight when his house was being demolished last week. Witnesses said they had locked themselves in their homes fearing the wrath of the goons who were razing his house. “Now my neighbours say they will testify in court, if necessary,” said Mr. Kumaramangalam.

“Those who are delivering construction material are asking me to withdraw my complaint and help Mahesh Kumar come out clean,” he said, adding that they will do anything he wants while simultaneously warning him not to go to the media.

A determined Mr. Kumaramangalam has, however, rejected their condition. “I told them to take away whatever they have dumped here as I am not going to withdraw my complaint,” he told The Hindu.

“The police who did not help me at the time of the demolition are now helping me after the media publicised this issue. Why should I be scared of anyone. I have decided to take the case to the logical end,” he said.

Meanwhile, construction is on to build two rooms initially. “I have cleared the debris at the site and found two suitcases containing my official files and clothes. I am getting back my belongings and self-respect which were demolished by them. Now it’s my turn to seek justice,” he said.

“Though the local D.J. Halli police have recovered the looted furniture, I cannot take them back as I have no place to keep them. Once I construct the rooms, I will retrieve them. Until then, let it be with the police,” he said.

Reacting to the situation, a senior police officer said, “We will provide necessary protection to Mr. Kumaramangalam and his family.”

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