Shouts of ‘Lal Salam’ rent the air as people thronged in large numbers to pay homage when the mortal remains of Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] Polit Bureau member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan were brought to the Thalassery Municipal Town Hall here on Sunday.
The body of Balakrishnan, who died at Apollo Hospital in Chennai, was brought to the Kannur airport by an air ambulance by 1 p.m. The body was received by CPI(M) district secretary M.V. Jayarajan and other party leaders at the airport and was taken in a special vehicle, accompanied by party members.
For the people to pay homage, the procession moved slowly through 13 centres including Mattannur, Neerveli, Moonampeedika, Arammile, Vettummal, Kathirur, Poniyan, and Chukkam, before concluding at the Thalassery Town Hall. The site witnessed emotional scenes with people shouting slogans and throwing flowers at vehicles.
CPI(M) leaders including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, S. Ramachandran Pillai, M.A. Baby, T.M. Thomas Isaac, A.N. Shamseer, Paloli Mohammed Kutty, M.V. Jayarajan, P. Jayarajan, E.P Jayaran, and T.V. Rajesh; Congress leaders K. Sudhakaran, Mullappally Ramachandran, and K. Muraleedharan; and BJP leaders paid their last respects to the leader at the town hall.
His body will be kept at the hall till 10 p.m. on Sunday for the public to pay respects and then taken to his house at Madapeedika, where it will be kept till 10 a.m. on Monday. Then the body will be brought to the CPI(M) Kannur district headquarters. The cremation will be done with full State honours at 3 p.m. at Payyambalam. A hartal will be observed on Monday at Thalassery, Dharmadam, and Kannur constituencies as a mark of respect to Balakrishnan.
Tributes pour in
State and Central CPI(M) Committee member Paloli Mohammed Kutty remembered Balakrishnan as someone who kept close relationship even with those who had different opinions within the party. “As a capable leader, he worked with lowest ranked cadres to the top leaders to strengthen the party. His lose is irreplaceable,” he added. Ramachandran Kadannappally, MLA, said Balakrishnan had created a unique identity for himself. He had the heart to accept anyone, he added.
People from various walks of life have mourned the demise of Balakrishnan. In a message, Sunni leader Kanthapuram A.P. Aboobacker Musliyar said that the late leader had played a major role in maintaining communal harmony in the State. He had also tried to help all communities beyond political considerations.
BJP national executive committee member P.K. Krishnadas said Balakrishnan could reduce the impact of political violence in Kannur. He maintained friendships and personal relationships beyond political affiliations. Indian National League State president Ahammad Devarkovil and general secretary Kasim Irikkur said Balakrishnan had devoted his life to the development of the State based on secular principles.