A special investigation team headed by K. Padmakumar, IG, Central Range, has been formed to investigate the incident.

Unidentified miscreants set ablaze the memorial of P. Krishna Pillai, founder-leader of the Communist movement in Kerala, in Alappuzha during early hours of Thursday, triggering a major verbal duel between Left and Congress leaders and call for a dawn-to-dusk hartal in the district on Friday from Left parties.

People living in the neighbourhood saw smoke billowing from the hut at at Kannarkatu in Alappuzha, where Krishna Pillai had breathed his last following a snake bite, on August 19, 1948, while in hiding, early in the morning. On being alerted, fire tenders from nearby areas rushed to the spot and brought the fire under control. Miscreants had also defaced Krishna Pillai’s bust erected in the courtyard. Krishna Pillai was the first secretariat of the Communist group in the State formed at Kozhikode in 1937.

A special investigation team headed by K. Padmakumar, IG, Central Range, has been formed to investigate the incident. The Kannur and Kottayam Superintendents of Police (SPs) would assist him in the investigation, top government sources said.

Coming as it does on the heels of the attack on Chief Minister Oommen Chandy at Kannur on Sunday, the incident triggered a sharp response from the CPI (M) leadership, which accused Congress workers of having set the memorial ablaze and vandalised Krishna Pillai’s bust. The CPI (M) and CPI also jointly issued a call for a dawn-to-dusk hartal in Alappuzha district on Friday to protest against the attack.

Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan termed the attack ‘heinous and pre-planned’ and CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan warned the government of serious consequences if the criminal elements who had vandalised the memorial were arrested immediately. Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Ramesh Chennithala, however, blamed factionalism in the CPI (M) in the locality for the incident.

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