Victims of land grabbing narrate several stories which prove that the slain rights activist Raj Mohan Chandra championed the cause of dispossessed, braving the powers that be.
His sister Kavitha Valentine claims that Mr.Chandra was a descendent of Sir Pitty Thyagaraya, one of the founders of Justice Party. An engineering graduate he travelled to several countries before he settled down in Tiruvannamalai about a decade ago.
On Tuesday, some of the creased faces waiting in front of the police station here to file a complaint on the murder on Monday alleged that the police-land mafia nexus dispossessed them of their assets and that Mr.Chandra intervened and helped them regain their property.
Krishnaveni, wife of Shanmugam, an unorganised worker, said she was forced “to part with her house on Mariyamman Temple Street. With the support of some politicians and police officials, her belongings were thrown out of the house in 2003. I petitioned the Collector and attempted to immolate myself. But nothing happened. Coming to know of these things from newspapers, he (Mr.Chandra) came to my home and offered me help. He guided me on how to seek the legal recourse. I got my property two years back. He never expected anything from me. But for him I would not have regained my house. He was like God for me”.
Krishnamurthi, a retired teacher, said some politicians aligning across party lines occupied a 29-cent plot owned by him in his neighbourhood in 2007. “When I opposed the move, a police officer took me into custody and gave a punch in my back and I became a heart patient. I did know how to take my case forward. The aggressors changed revenue records in their favour. At that time, Mr.Chandra introduced himself and offered to help me. He gave legal advice and filed RTI petitions. He successfully restored the land records in my name. In return, I did not even offer him tea. In fact, it was he who paid when we had tea together,” Mr.Krishnamurthi said.
“Mr.Chandra’s wife Mini in her complaint charged AIADMK councillor Venkatesan, his brother Selvam and their father Veerasamy [with the murder]. The indifferent attitude of the police is the main reason for escalating criminal activities of these persons. Police should arrest them and restore law and order in town,” Mr.Veerabadran added.