VD Satheesan and Pinarayi Vijayan. Photo: ANI, Mathrubhumi Archives
Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress-led UDF opposition in the state assembly on Monday lashed out at the ruling CPI(M) in Kerala, alleging that the party has "illicit relations" with extremist forces, both from majority and minority communities.
Such illicit relations were the reason for the delay in recovering proceedings being initiated against leaders of the now-banned Popular Front of India (PFI) by the state government, Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Assembly V D Satheesan claimed.
Speaking to reporters outside the Legislative Assembly, Satheesan said: "We (UDF) have said earlier also that the government and CPI(M) have illicit relations with extremist forces from the majority and the minority communities.
"Yes, even PFI. That is why even after court orders to confiscate the properties of PFI leaders, the government was slow to initiate the process," he alleged.
The Kerala High Court had last year directed the state government to seize properties of the arrested PFI workers in Kerala in connection with the damage to public property caused in the violence during a hartal called by the outfit in September 2022.
However, as the state government exceeded deadlines set by the High Court to complete the process, it had to face the displeasure of the court.
Satheesan contended that only after some officials were summoned by the High Court did the state government swing into action.
Regarding the recovery notices being allegedly sent to other persons, including workers of Congress ally Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the LoP said it was probably an error or fault on the part of the state government.
He said the UDF was not against confiscating properties of PFI leaders, but the state government was, "unfortunately", also sending notices to many others who were not involved in activities of the banned organisation.
"This is very unfair as innocent people's properties could get confiscated and such persons would get branded as culprits," Satheesan said.
He said the fault or error is on the part of the government and the opposition expects it to correct the same.
"If they (government) are not correcting the errors or faults, then we will have to assume that it was a deliberate attempt to implicate the other persons and that there is a political motive behind it," he said.
For now, we think it was an error, Satheesan said while adding "but they have to correct it".
IUML MLA and its National General Secretary P K Kunhalikutty too spoke along similar lines as his ally and said, "We are not against confiscating property of PFI in accordance with court orders or the law.
"Instead of that, police are giving notices to those who are not even aware about the issue, who did not participate in the protest or who have no police case at all against them. We are against that," he said.
He said that such actions were taking place across the state, not just against IUML workers but against even those who are not at all involved in politics.
IUML on Sunday had alleged that properties of its innocent workers were attached by the state government as part of the recovery proceedings initiated by it against PFI leaders.
The state Revenue Department had on Friday initiated state-wide action of attaching properties of arrested leaders of the PFI as part of the recovery proceedings.
The High Court had on January 18 directed the state government to complete the recovery and submit a district-wise report by January 23.
The government had on November 7, 2022 told the court that a loss of Rs 86 lakh was incurred due to the damage to property during the violence in the state-wide hartal.
The government had also submitted that a loss of Rs 16 lakh was suffered by private persons during the violence.
The state police had told the court last year that it has registered a total of 361 cases and arrested 2,674 people.
Earlier, the High Court had asked the banned PFI and its ex-state general secretary Abdul Sathar to deposit Rs 5.2 crore with the Home Department towards damages estimated by the KSRTC and the state government in connection with the hartal-related violence, saying the outfit must be held accountable for it. PTI