Verdict to be pronounced today
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Fast Track Court I Judge Y. Thajudeen Koya on Tuesday found two Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activists guilty of murdering a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus conductor at East Fort in July 2000.
The persons found guilty of murder are Manu, alias Vinod, 28, and Vijayakumar, alias Poodan Biju, residents of Muttathura, Sreevarahom. The verdict in the case will be pronounced by the court on Wednesday.
Rajesh, 20, was killed when a march organised by RSS and BJP activists in the city turned violent.
The prosecution case was that Rajesh was murdered by the activists with wooden staff and stones at Transport Bhavan around 12.30 p.m. on July 13.
The court also found 23 RSS and BJP activists guilty of various charges, including criminal conspiracy, destruction of public property, abetment, unlawful assembly and rioting with deadly weapons during the march. While Hindu Aikya Vedi State president Shishupalan, 70, and 10 others, including BJP State secretary Umakantan, 47, a native of Paravoor, Ernakulam; Girishan Nair, 49, Rajan, alias Rajkumar, 45, Ravi Kumar 39, and Manikandan, 62, residents of Manacaud; Padmakumar, 42, resident of Karamana; Jayakumar, 41, resident of Nemom; Rajasekharan, 43, resident of Palkulangara; Maheswaran, alias Arun Kumar, 39, resident of Kudappanakkunnu, and Sudhakaran, 53, resident of Vattiyoorkavu; were found guilty of conspiracy, abetment and destruction of public property by the court, 12 others were found guilty of unlawful assembly and rioting with deadly weapons.
They are Ramesh, alias Chandra Mouli, 26, resident of Vanchiyoor; Anand Mohan, 24, resident of Kowdiar; Praveen Kumar, 22, resident of Kudappanakkunnu; Vishnu, alias Shinu Kumar, 28, and Murali, 49, of Ernakulam; Raj, 40, of Vilavoorkkal; Narayanan, alias Krishnan, 37, and Santhosh, alias Santhosh Kumar, of Ulloor; Unnikrishnan, 31, R. Aji, alias Ayyappan Nair, 28, and Vijayesh, 30, residents of Vattiyoorkavu; and Sudarshanan, 27 resident of Sreevarahom.
More than 80 KSRTC buses were damaged in the incident and public property estimated at more than Rs.8 lakhs was vandalised.
The prosecution examined 89 witnesses as part of the case. Public Prosecutor R. Anil Kumar appeared on behalf of the prosecution.
The Background information of the Attack / Chargesheet [ Report as on Sept 23 2000]
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, SEPT. 23. The Crime Branch special investigation team, probing the largescale rioting in the city on July 13 which resulted in the murder of KSRTC bus conductor Rajesh and destruction of public as well as private property, has submitted a detailed chargesheet against 35 RSS, BJP, VHP and Hindu Aikya Vedi functionaries accusing them of murder, criminal conspiracy, destruction of property, trespass and unlawful assembly among other offences.
The special team, headed by Mr. Joshua (Dy.SP-Crime Branch) and Mr. Ramachandran (Circle Inspector), today filed the chargesheet before the Judicial First Class Magistrate-II. The public prosecutor, Mr. Rajagoplan Nair, will lead the prosecution.
The prime accused in the case are the BMS district secretary and general secretary of NOBW, Gireeshan, and the RSS Saririkh Pramukh of Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram districts, Padmakumar. The other accused include the State Organising secretary of the ABVP, Umakanthan, the former State president of the ABVP, Jayakumar, the district secretary of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Manikantan, State leader of the Hindu Aikyavedi, Sisupalan, the secretary of the RSS Karyalayam, Murali, the RSS Mandalam Karyavah, Raju, the RSS Bowdhik Sikshak Pramukh, Unnikrishnan, the RSS Mahakaryavahaks, Raj Kumar and Ravi Kumar and the RSS Bowdhik Pramukh, Sudhakaran.
The prosecution case is that the RSS, VHP, Hindu Aikyavedi functionaries had hatched a criminal conspiracy at Samskriti Bhavan on September 12 night to attack the police and unleash violence in the city as a tit-for-tat response to the police action against ABVP workers before the Secretariat the same day morning.
(Police on September 12 had resorted to use of force to disperse ABVP workers who tried to barge into the Secretariat through the police cordon stationed at the front gate. Several workers, including girls, were injured in the police action.)
The Crime Branch case is that the conspirators contacted competent workers to carry out their plan and made arrangements to distribute weapons, including wooden staffs and iron bars, among the cadres.
According to the chargesheet, around 1,500 RSS, ABVP, Hindu Aikya Vedi, VHP, BJP workers assembled at East Fort at the behest of their leaders at around 11 a.m. The workers were armed with wooden staffs, "dhandas"" in RSS parlance and iron bars. The agitators then marched towards the Secretariat. The march reached the Secretariat at around 11.30 a.m. The agitators armed with staffs and bars tried to force their way into the Secretariat through the police cordon at the gates.
The executive magistrate who was present at the spot declared the demonstration an unlawful assembly and asked the agitators to disperse. When his warning failed to deter the marchers, the police fired tear-gas shells and resorted to caning to disperse the protesters.
After sometime, nearly 400 of the 1,500 workers regrouped in front of the Secretariat. The leaders present there made inciting speeches and the dharna dispersed after 10 minutes. In his speech, the second accused, Padmakumar, threatened the police and the Government with dire consequences. The Crime Branch chargesheet pointed out that at the order of Padmakumar the workers split into two groups. One group walked from Statue towards General Hospital while the other proceeded to East Fort leaving a trial of destruction in their wake.
The group which moved towards East Fort trespassed into the Transport Bhavan and damaged nearly 230 KSRTC buses which were parked there. Inside East Fort, the group damaged nearly 40 brand new vehicles which were brought there for registration. The agitators also damaged 81 RTC buses parked inside the main garage.
The Crime Branch chargesheet stated that the bus conductor, Rajesh, was killed near the Taluk office when he objected to the violence. The prosecution case is that the 17th accused Vinod hit Rajesh on the head with an iron bar. The 19th accused, Poodan Biju, followed up the first blow with one from a wooden rafter he was carryin
g at the time. Rajesh who was admitted to the Medical College Hospital succumbed to his injuries on September 15.
The other RSS, VHP, ABVP and Hindu Aikyavedi workers who figure as accused in the case are Ramesh alias Chandramouli, Anand Mohanan, Praveen Kumar, Vishnu alias Shinu Kumar, Vinod Kumar, Narayanan alias Krishnakumar, Aji alias Ayyappan Nair, Shibhu Kumar, Vijayesh, Subash Kumar, Santosh Kumar, Vinod, Sudarshanan, Poodan Biju alias Vijayakumar, Ani alias Aji Kumar, Kattikattan alias Santhoshkumar, Madhu alias Vettukathi Madhu, Suresh alias Mallan Podiyan, Thulasi alias Malayil Kallan Thulasi, Rajasekharan and Arun Kumar. Police said all except Santhosh Kumar, Madhu, Umakanthan, Rajkumar and Sisupalji are in judicial custody.
The Crime Branch had interviewed more than 500 witnesses and filed the chargesheet within 72 days of the incident. Twenty-six of the accused were arrested in swift pre-dawn operation last month.
Most of the accused are in judicial custody after the bail applications were rejected the by the District as well as High Court.
Crime branch officials also conducted three identification parades at the Sub Jail to identify the real culprits. The parade was conducted in the presence of a magistrate. Some of the witnesses were threatened during the identification parade by the accused persons.
Another input from an article on Brahminism by Mukundan C Menon in Ambedkar. org relating to the same incident is mentioned below :
Incidentally, the Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple complex, picture of which is publicised by Kerala Tourism Department as the focal attraction for tourists, is controlled by the erstwhile Travancore Royal family headed by the present “Maharaja” Marthanda Varma. Unlike Sabarimala Temple, which is governed by Travancore Dewaswom Board, the Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple is under the direct supervision of a Trust headed by the “Maharaja”. In recent years, the Temple complex has attained notoriety as the focal centre of Sangh Parivar activism. Different offices of various Sangh Parivar bodies, apart from Siva Sena, are operating in different buildings of this Temple Complex belonging go the Trust. After the violence unleashed by Sangh Parivar on Thiruvananthapuram on July 13 last year in connection with the Plus Two agitation, in which a bus conductor Rajesh was killed within the KSRTC depo at East Fort near the Temple complex, the police headed by City Police Commissioner Padmakumar raided several of these premises to recover arms and arrest the culprits, all of whom still face various charges including murder. ]