Police slaps impersonation charge on KSU president who tested positive for COVID

Police slaps impersonation charge on KSU president who tested positive for COVID

Thiruvananthapuram: If there is one political battle Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is winning, it is his objection to the mass agitations that the opposition parties have unleashed across Kerala since September 11 calling for higher education minister K T Jaleel's ouster.

On September 22, the chief minister gave first proof of why the agitations were harming the anti-COVID battle. Pinarayi announced that 101 policemen, who should have actually been on COVID duty but had to be despatched to control the "political mobs", had tested positive. On September 23, without giving any specifics, he revealed that many opposition party workers and leaders who had taken part in these agitations had fallen prey to the virus.

And just a day later, on Thursday, it came to light that KSU president K M Abhijith had gone to take the COVID test on September 23 the way Jaleel went to depose before the Enforcement Directorate, which is to say, surreptitiously. Abhijith had led KSU's march to the Secretariat on September 15. The CPM leaders say Abhijith's "secret visit" to the testing centre showed that the Congress is deeply embarrassed by its anti-government agitations that violated all COVID-19 norms.

The test was done at a centre in Pothencode panchayat in Thiruvananthapuram. Of the 48 tests done at Pothencode on September 23, 19 were positive. One of them was Abhi M K, a name unfamiliar in the area. "There were three boys in the address given and none of them went by this name," said K Venugopalan Nair, the Pothencode's CPM panchayat president.

'Thiruvonam, Plamoodu', was the address given, and this was the house of KSU state secretary Bahul Krishna. Abhijith had gone for the test with Bahul Krishna, who turned out to be negative.

When it was revealed that Abhi M K was K M Abhijith, the panchyat president filed a case against the KSU president. On the basis of this, the Pothencode police has registered a case against the KSU president for impersonation. The Kerala Epidemic Diseases Ordinance has also been invoked against Abhijeet.

Bahul Krishna claims that the misleading name was a clerical error. "How can someone like the KSU president mask his identity. I had given the name correctly," Bahul Krishna said. Abhijith said that if he was too keen on concealing his identity he could have given other names like Narayanan.

Venugopalan Nair, however, alleged that the KSU leaders had influenced a junior health inspector to enter a false name. Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran said a probe should be held to find the health officials who had helped the KSU leader to give a fake name.

The panchayat president's police complaint said that providing a false identity would hamper the panchayat's contact tracing efforts.

Abhijith said he had been in self imposed quarantine in Bahul Krishna's house at Pothencode for six days after some friends of his had tested positive. He said he had not come into contact with anyone. Even Bahul Krishna had tested negative, he said.

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