Picture for representational purpose only; courtesy PTI
Close on the heels of a video posted by Shashi Kumar, a small-time vegetable trader in flood-hit Chengannur, alleging how powerful local CPI(M) leaders forcefully took away vegetables and money from his shop went viral, another video has surfaced in which another vegetable trader, an ex-serviceman, in the same locality had alleged his shop also was broke open and emptied. According to the ex-serviceman, the people who did this had taken the vegetables and other essential items to a relief camp, allegedly run by the CPI(M).
The ex-serviceman said they committed the crime when he was trapped in his house whose ground floor was filled with water. “I have taken loans from financiers at an exorbitant interest and pledged wife’s gold ornaments to purchase stationary and vegetables. They had emptied the whole shop. I don’t have any other option, but to commit suicide,” said the ex-serviceman.
Shashi Kumar, in his video, names the CPI(M) leaders who committed the crime. The police have so far refused to take any action against the powerful CPI(M) leaders. “I will say this even if they kill me. They have ruined my livelihood. In the morning they came and took away yam (chena) and in the evening seven-eight men led by Councilor Hari came and emptied all the items in the shop. When I resisted, one of them opened the cash box and took away Rs 19,000. I have decided henceforth I won’t do any business. I will drive an autorickshaw,” said Kumar. Kumar is also an ex-seriveman. According to Kumar, they were doing it in the name of relief camp. Kumar also is an ex-serviceman.
A few days ago, another businessman was manhandled for not giving 500 pairs of chappals to a DYFI team, which was collecting relief materials. The shopkeeper had given 50 pairs of chappals free of cost. The video of the assault, captured on the CCTV, went viral. The police arrested five DYFI workers in this connection.
Locals and flood victims prevented the local committee secretary of CPI(M) and his party men from taking away rice and other essential commodities from a relief camp in Nayarambalam near Kochi. The police managed to diffuse the tension.
The Communist Party of India, an alliance partner of the ruling Left Front, alleged that relief materials meant to be distributed in Munnar were being taken away by the CPI(M). The relief materials were addressed to the district collector.
In Parumala near Thiruvalla, flood victims chased away CPI(M) men who came in the cover of dark to take rice and other relief materials from the relief camp.
The Muslim Youth League alleged that CPM representatives took away all relief materials to their party office after the relief centre in Tirur, Malappuram was closed. In Pandalam, angry flood victims shouted slogans against CPI(M) after they hijacked a relief camp run by a Muslim organisation. They said CPI(M) is deliberately creating problems in the relief camp which was being managed well by the outfit.
Besides, there are widespread complaints that relief materials sent by government agencies are also being appropriated by the CPI(M).