The district unit of the Congress has called for a probe into the death of Mathrubhumi’s Chathannur reporter A.K. Babukuttan. He was found dead in a hotel room in Thrissur on Tuesday.

The Congress has called for a dawn-to-dusk hartal in Chathannur town on Wednesday. However, vehicular movement will not be obstructed.

At a press conference here on Tuesday, DCC president Pratapavarma Thampan and Mahila Congress State president Bindu Krishna alleged that continuous harassment by the local leadership of the Communist Party of India (CPI) had driven him to take the extreme step. They wanted the police to register an abetment of suicide case against Chathannur MLA G.S. Jayalal and some other leaders of the party. They alleged that Babukuttan was constantly threatened by the local CPI leadership and was even brutally assaulted once. This was in connection with some of the reports pertaining to development activities at Chathannur. Under pressure from the local CPI leadership, the police had registered a sexual harassment case against him on May 16.

Mr. Thampan said he had even received an SMS from Babukuttan some days back saying that the Chathannur police were harassing him in connection with the bogus case.

CPI statement

Meanwhile, the CPI, in a statement, said the Congress was trying to make political capital out of the suicide. CPI district secretary R. Ramachandran condemned the statement of the Congress leaders in this connection. Mr. Ramachandran said that it was on the basis of a complaint from the victim that the sexual harassment case was registered. Mr. Ramachandran said his party would welcome any probe into the incident.

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