Owner alleges CPM hand as auto-rickshaw destroyed in suspected arson

Chitralekha's auto-rickshaw was gutted in the fire yesterday, in 2005 also she had to endure a similar kind of incident. Photo: Manorama

Kannur: The auto-rickshaw owned by Chitralekha from Kannur's Kattambilly,  who had protested in front of the district collectorate and later at the secretariat, Thiruvananthapuram, against an alleged threat from the area CPM leadership, was found destroyed in a fire again.

She faced a similar kind of attack against her vehicle in 2005.

The vehicle was parked in her courtyard at around 11 pm last night; by 2 am, four people awakened her and told her that the vehicle was on fire.

Earlier, Chitralekha had staged protests in front of the collectorate for 122 days and the secretariat for 47 days, alleging that the CPM had made her life miserable.

Chitralekha said the four men who were at the front yard attempting to extinguish the fire were found absconding once they heard her alerting the jurisdictional police over the phone.

Further on she raised suspicion over their role in the incident and saidd that she knows one person among the four who played a key role in attempting to evict her from her rented house earlier.

However, the other three people are not known to her, she added. Her house was damaged in the fire as well as the tiles fell down and the switchboard burned.

The vehicle is reported to have been damaged completely. Since she and her husband were denied a vehicle loan, her brother purchased the autorickshaw for her livelihood.

The forensic and dog squads have been brought to the scene, and the investigation is on.

Though Chitralekha and her husband Sreeshkant purchased an autorickshaw under a government scheme in October 2004, the CPM area leadership and a section of autorickshaw drivers from Edattu near Payyannur, where they had been living at the time, did not allow them to ply the vehicle.

The issue has been on the boil after purportedly after Shreeshkant’s marriage to Chitralekha who's a Dalit. 

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