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Key accused in Kerala student leader’s murder held

The probe team said P Mohamed, the district president of Popular Front of India’s (PFI) youth wing Campus Front, was arrested after this phone calls were traced

india Updated: Jul 18, 2018 17:22 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
Kerala,Kerala student leader,Kerala student leader’s murder
Abhimanyu, a 19-year-old second-year degree student of Maharajas College in Ernakulam, was stabbed to death on July 2 on the campus after an altercation between SFI and Campus Front activists.(Representative Photo)

The prime accused in the murder of a Students Federation of India leader Abhimanyu was arrested on Wednesday by the special investigation team (SIT) from a hideout in north Kerala, officials said.

The probe team said P Mohamed, the district president of Popular Front of India’s (PFI) youth wing Campus Front, was arrested after this phone calls were traced. He had escaped to Bengaluru after the murder and shifted to a hideout along the Kerala-Karnataka border, it said.

Abhimanyu, a 19-year-old second-year degree student of Maharajas College in Ernakulam, was stabbed to death on July 2 on the campus after an altercation between SFI and Campus Front activists.

Mohamed, a third-year BA Arabic student of the same college, allegedly summoned a gang of 15 members to attack SFI activists when the clashes took place, the team said. Two SFI leaders were stabbed and Abhimanyu succumbed to his injuries later.

Police started a state-wide crackdown on PFI and Campus Front workers after the murder.

The PFI was launched in 2006 after many Muslim organisations like the National Development Front of Kerala, Karnataka Forum for Dignity and Manitha Neethi Pasaari of the Tamil Nadu merged to protect what it called the “interest of the backward and oppressed people”. PFI claims it has units in 20 states.

A fundamentalist outfit PFI was allegedly involved in at least 24 political murders in the state since its inception in 2006.

In 2015, 13 workers of PFI were awarded life-term for chopping the palm of a professor for posing a question during an that was allegedly blasphemous. In January this year, six PFI activists were held in connection with the murder of an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad leader in Kannur.

In neighbouring Karnataka, five PFI leaders were arrested in connection with the murder of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader R Rudresh in Bengaluru.

PFI also has a political wing in Kerala called the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and it contested the last local body elections winning many seats.

The ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) had a discreet understanding with the SDPI in Muslim-majority Malappuram to contain the dominant Muslim League. Having burnt its fingers now, the CPI(M) has given directives to its cadres to stop such alliances.

“The SDPI is the Indian version of the Islamic State. Extremist forces who are getting isolated are spreading terror to get noticed. We will not allow this to happen in a state like Kerala,” said CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

“The PFI is trying to impose Talibanism and it is promoting enmity between different communities. It is a dangerous trend,” CPI(M) leader Elamaram Kareem said in an article criticising both PFI and SDPI.

However, PFI and SDPI leaders said the ruling party was “terrorising its cadres citing an unfortunate incident.”

SDPI state president Abdul Majeed Faisi said the state government was using the police to raid party offices and houses of party leaders.

“Hundreds of party workers were taken into preventive custody. We will resist such moves politically and legally,” he said

He added that the Maharajas College incident was not one-sided but it happened during a clash between two groups of students.

First Published: Jul 18, 2018 17:22 IST