Bhagval Singh, Laila members of CPM? Party confused

Bhagval Singh; Laila

Pathanamthitta: There seems to be some confusion in the CPM ranks as to whether Bhagval Singh and Laila, two of the three accused in the Elanthoor human sacrifices case, are its party workers.

CPM district secretary KP Udayabhanu on Thursday maintained what is likely the party's official stand - that they were not.

"They are neither our party workers nor are they associated with any of our organisations. They hold no positions. It must just be that they had attended a few of our public events. This makes them supporters, not party workers," Udayabhanu clarified.

"Our party is one that works to uproot indolence and superstition in society. This false propaganda is likely the work of our rivals," the leader added.

However, Udayabhanu's words did little to undo what Pathanamthitta area secretary Pradeep Kumar had said on the day the news broke.

Kumar that the accused Bhagval Singh is indeed a CPM worker and expressed shock to learn that Singh was capable of such gruesome crimes.

It has also come to light that Bhagval Singh, a traditional healer, had held the branch secretary post of the party for a short period. He is currently the party local committee member and the Kerala State Karshaka Thozhilali Union panchayat committee president. Singh, a CPM hard-liner, was also the LDF agent in Booth 142 in all recent elections.

Singh’s wife Laila, the other accused in the case, was also a party activist. She was at the forefront of a condolence rally held by the CPM at the time of the demise of veteran party leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

CPM against superstition

When news broke of the twin black magic murders in the once-idyllic neighbourhood of Thiruvalla, it was indeed CPM workers who were first to arrive and condemn the incident.

On Thursday, members of DYFI, the youth arm of the CPM, launched protests against various superstitious activities in the state.

Most notable among them was the Malayalappuzha incident where a woman, who allegedly practised black magic involving children, was arrested.

The case

Bhagval, Laila and Shafi are accused of murdering two women for a black magic ritual. The case came to light during the investigation to find one of the two women.

Bhagval and Laila had sought the services of Shafi to perform the ritual for economic prosperity.

Shafi, after convincing the couple that human sacrifices are necessary, sought money from them and lured women from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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