KERALA

Law-and-order situation grim: KPCC chief

Staff Reporter

`Politics getting criminalised'

KOLLAM: Ramesh Chennithala, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president, has alleged that the law-and-order situation in the State has deteriorated so much that even the State secretary of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), leading the ruling coalition, can move around only with bullets.

Inaugurating a commemoration function organised by the Kottara Gopalakrishnan Foundation here on Saturday, Mr. Chennithala said the seizure of bullets from the bag of Pinarayi Vijayan indicated that politics in Kerala was getting criminalised.He called upon Mr. Vijayan to clarify whether the bullets were for self-defence or for threatening someone. Ideological differences among parties were common. But use of weapons against political rivals did not augur well.

He wanted Mr. Vijayan to clarify if the seizure of bullets was another media creation. Seeks answer

Staff Reporter writes from Kannur:

Congress leader and Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee spokesman M.M. Hassan has urged the CPI(M) to answer the `puzzling questions' raised by the finding of live cartridges in the bag of Mr. Vijayan at the Chennai airport.

Speaking at a press conference here on Saturday, Mr. Hassan said the incident had left a lot of questions to be answered, especially in the wake of the disclosure of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel responsible for baggage checking at the Thiruvanan- thapuram airport that no cartridges had been found during the usual X-ray checking. He said it was mysterious that the cartridges had been found in the laptop carry-bag instead of the check-in bag.

Mr. Hassan said Mr. Vijayan's air travel through Chennai to attend an emergency meeting of the Polit Bureau in New Delhi also raised a lot of questions. The CPI(M) leader should have boarded the Thiruvananthapuram-Delhi Sahara flight at 12.30 p.m. instead of flying on another flight to Chennai at 11.30 a.m.Mr. Vijayan owed an explanation as to why he broke the journey and stayed nearly four-and-a-half hours in Chennai.

If the version of the CISF officials at the Thiruvananthapuram airport was true, the cartridges got into the laptop carry-bag in Chennai, he added.

The incident was enough to justify the allegation raised by `Berlin' Kunhanandan Nambiar, a senior party leader who had been expelled from the party, that the CPI(M) leadership was now under the control of `mafia groups.' If he had been granted revolver licence during the previous United Democratic Front Government, Mr. Vijayan should explain whey he applied for extending the licence period during the Left Democratic Front rule. He should explain if he was facing any threat to his life.