Tension prevailed in the Cherthala municipal area near here on Wednesday, where a Congress ward president died late on Tuesday night after being attacked a few days back by a group of persons, allegedly activists of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). The attack was the result of an argument over the sale of coir floor mats.
The Congressman, Kochuparampil Divakaran, 60, was in the intensive care unit of the Kottayam Medical College Hospital since November 29, after being attacked by a group of persons at his residence around 8 p.m. that day. The attack is said to be a consequence of Divakaran’s son Dileep questioning in the ward council meeting earlier in the day the act of a few persons who approached Divakaran, asking him to buy coir floor mats from the Kudumbasree. Divakaran refused to buy the mats, following which the persons left the mats at his residence, reportedly telling him that he would have to either buy them or burn them at his own risk.
The same persons reached his residence around 8 p.m. and first attacked Dileep. When Divakaran interfered, he was hit with a sharp wooden rod on his head. Dileep’s wife, Resmi, too was injured in the attack. Both father and son were shifted to the ICU of the Kottayam MCH, where Divakaran passed away at 11.50 p.m. on Tuesday. Dileep is still in hospital.
Though the police arrested four persons in connection with the attack earlier this week, the death of Divakaran piled on the tension prevailing in the area after the attack. With a hartal being observed in Cherthala town on Wednesday, Congress activists went around forcibly shutting shops and offices. Private buses kept off the streets.
Leader of Opposition Oommen Chandy, who reached Divakaran’s residence on Wednesday, told reporters that the late Congressman was the scapegoat of CPI (M)’s violent politics.
“Moreover, the real culprits are still at large. They are being protected by the police and the CPI (M),” Mr. Chandy alleged. He was accompanied by A.A. Shukoor, MLA and Youth Congress State president M. Liju among others.
Divakaran’s body was kept for public viewing before his funeral. He is survived by wife Sulochana, daughter Deepa and son Dileep.