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K.M. Shahjahan’s mother sits on protest fast

K.M. Shahjahan’s mother sits on protest fast

Thiruvananthapuram: A retired scientist has begun a fast here seeking release of her jailed son, who has been a vocal critic of the ruling CPI-M, and especially Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

On Sunday, L. Thankamma, 80, a retired scientist of the Rubber Board of India began a fast demanding release of her son, K.M. Shahjahan, from prison.

Her fast began as Mahija, a mother fighting for justice for the death of her son Jishnu Prannoy, ended her fast on Sunday night after five days following assurances from the state government that all her demands would be addressed.

For the past decade, Shahjahan, 54, has turned out to be the bete noire of the CPI-M in general and Vijayan in particular and is one of the most anti CPI-M faces on TV news channels in debates.

Last Wednesday, when he arrived in the state capital to express his solidarity with Mahija, to sit in protest before the office of state police chief, the police rounded him up along with four others. He has been in jail in the capital city and the charges against him include conspiracy.

His mother, Thankamma, told reporters on Monday: “The only reason that I can attribute to Vijayan’s abuse of power against my son is because Shahjahan took up cudgels against him by filing a petition in the High Court in the SNC Lavalin case in which Vijayan is facing trying times. The court is expected to give its verdict shortly.”

On Monday, Shahjahan was taken from the prison by the police to the Law College here as he had to write his third year law examination.

“What’s the doubt; the only reason why I am being hounded by Vijayan is because I took a stand against him in the SNC Lavalin case. I definitely will fight this gross human rights violation,” said Shahjahan as he was taken by police to the examination hall.

Former Chief Minister and Congress party leader Oommen Chandy on Monday arrived at the residence of Thankamma and expressed his full support.

“This is ridiculous that a person like Shahjahan who went to express his solidarity with a mother (Mahija) was arrested. Did they go with bomb?” asked Chandy.

Former state Bharatiya Janata Party President P.K. Krishnadas also called on Thankamma and assured her that the BJP understands her concerns and will support her in her fight for justice.

Leader of Opposition and former Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala of the Congress party termed Shahjahan’s case as “a classic example of using power to suppress people”.

But State PWD and Excise Minister G. Sudhakaran dismissed the arrest of Shahjahan as a normal act.

“Let them go to the court and tell it there. There are so many in Kerala jails on non bailable cases. This is not at all an issue in Kerala,” said Sudhakaran.

Shajahan’s bail plea is coming up on Wednesday.

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