KM Shajahan’s Arrest, a Political Vendetta?

It was just a few days ago, that Jishnu Pranoy’s mother, Mahija tried to stage a fast in front of the DGP’s office. However, not only was she stopped from staging a protest, but was manhandled and arrested along with 11 other family members. Amidst the chaos, the police also arrested KM Shajahan, a social worker, stating that he fomented trouble by exploiting Mahija’s case.

Four SUCI activists Shajar Khan, Mini, Sreekumar and a self styled spiritualist, Himaval Bhadrananda, alias ‘Thokku’ Swamy, are the other detainees. L Thankamma, mother of Shajahan believes that her son was trapped by the Left government for fighting the SNC Lavalin Case in which Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was involved.

In the meanwhile, an inquiry report says that S Shajar Khan, his wife Mini, Sreekumar and Himawal Bhadranananda were behind the conspiracy. The report also mentions involvement of Shajahan. Shajahan, who was additional private secretary to former chief minister VS Achuthanandan, was earlier expelled from the CPM.

Shajahan’s mother, Thankamma had threatened to go on an indefinite agitation in front of Cliff House, the official residence of the Chief Minister, from Monday if the police continued to detain her son under false charges. Shajahan has been a third party opponent in a law suit to discharge CM, Pinarayi Vijayan in the SNC Lavalin case.

Post his arrest, there has been speculation on the media and social media whether he has been detained for revenge. The police apparently detained them to prevent breach of public peace and has moved the court for custody and further interrogation.

Investigations are still on over the SNC Lavalin case where, former electricity minister and current CM Pinarayi Vijayan was accused of misleading the Cabinet with an ulterior motive for personal gain and execute a contract with SNC Lavalin, a Canadian company by fraudulent means. The contract was meant for renovation of  Pallivasal, Sengulam, and Panniyar hydroelectric projects in the State.

“Arrest of Shajahan looks like a move for revenge on part of the CPI(M) government led by Pinarayi Vijayan. It is clearly a violation of human rights.  The State is currently on the brink of emergency and the government has arrested someone who has dared to raise a voice against its working. This is fascist, anti-democratic where the voice of a public worker is being shut down by force, without even a chance for getting bail. BJP completely supports Shajahan’s mother, Thankamma’s fast in a bid for justice.” says BJP leader, PC Krishnadas.

“While I feel that Shajahan as a public worker could have shown more maturity even if he meant to show solidarity to Mahija, he should have been granted bail. There is no reason for the Police to behave in such a way and deny him bail. At the same time, the arrest cannot be taken as a tool for vengeance,” says Renjith Marar, Advocate at the High Court.
According to Sandhya Raju, Advocate and Director of Human Rights Law Network, Kochi, “Bail against an arrest is a basic right as long as the person in custody hasn’t tried to destroy evidences. Hence it isn’t clear as to why he is still being detained. The only other reason for detaining him could be to prevent violation of law and order.”


Cover image courtesy:  By Fotokannan, Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons and Facebook page of KM Shajahan

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