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‘Supari gangs’, ‘criminal links’, veiled threats: CPM fights fires as Kannur leaders trade charges

THE RULING CPI(M) found itself fending off a fresh row Friday, as party leaders openly traded charges over its veteran face P Jayarajan, drawing attention in the process to the party’s links with political violence in Kannur.

First, news emerged Wednesday that former Kannur CPI(M) district committee member Manu Thomas, who had been keeping away from party events, had ceased being a member of the party, having not renewed his membership. Soon after, former CPI(M) worker A P Akash alias Akash Thillankeri, with a long history of cases against him, including that of the murder of a Youth Congress worker, hit back on Facebook with a barely sheathed threat to Thomas, hinting at Kannur’s bloody political history; he later deleted the post. A loyal P Jayarajan supporter, Akash was earlier shunned by the CPI(M) after a statement by him complaining that the party had not come to the aid of cadres “involved in the murder of the Youth Congress worker”.

Thomas replied on the same platform, saying: “The CPI(M) leadership has to answer whether they have tasked anyone (with an attack on me)… Once born, one has to die. But it should be while standing tall with a straight backbone.’’

The CPI(M), which faced a rout in the Lok Sabha elections in the latest setback to it, has been trying to put its Kannur past behind. P Jayarajan is a crucial cog in it, accused of using violence against political rivals as former Kannur district secretary of the party, when he enjoyed a huge following.

Over the last decade, the CBI has chargesheeted him in two cases of political murders, one of an Indian Union Muslim League leader and another related to the killing of an RSS district leader.

On Friday, the Opposition moved an adjournment motion notice in the

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