Attack on Chandy: I'm convicted because I walked out of CPM, says rebel leader COT Naseer

  • Of the 133 accused including former CPM MLAs, only three were convicted
  • One of the convicts is in bitter conflict with the CPM; another convict is in jail in a drug case
  • Congress demands an inquiry into the prosecution's role in procuring convictions for CPM rebels
COT Naseer. File photo: Manorama

Kannur: Nearly 10 years after a group of CPM workers attacked the then chief minister Oommen Chandy and vandalised his vehicle at Kannur Police Ground, a court here found no one guilty of attacking the veteran leader.

The Kannur Assistant Sessions Court, however, found three of the 113 accused guilty of destroying public property.

Among those who were acquitted of all charges were the then CPM MLAs C Krishnan and K K Narayanan. Five accused died during the trial.

Of the three convicts, one is in a bitter conflict with the CPM and another one was expelled from the party after he was convicted in a drug case.

"If I were with the CPM, I would not have been found guilty today," said C O T Naseer, a former Thalassery Municipal Councillor who walked out of the CPM in 2014 after a disagreement with the then party secretary Pinarayi Vijayan over his religious identity.

Naseer, the 18th accused; Deepak Chalad, the 88th accused who is now in jail in a drug case; and Biju Parambath, the 99th accused and former Cherukunnu DYFI branch secretary, were found guilty under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property (PDPP) Act on Monday.

Sub-judge Rajev Vachal sentenced Deepak Chalad to three years of imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 on him. Naseer and Biju were sentenced to two years of imprisonment and fined Rs 10,000.

The police shield the chief minister's car from stone pelting in Kannur on October 27, 2013. File photo: Manorama

Solar scam protest that turned violent
On October 27, 2013, Chief Minister Chandy was invited as the chief guest at the valedictory function of the 43rd Annual Police Sports Meet at the Kannur Police Ground.

That was the time when he was facing the heat from the opposition over the alleged solar scam.

After the function, when Chandy's convoy left the ground, CPM and LDF protesters thronged his vehicles. They pelted his car and a police escort jeep with stones.

According to the FIR registered by the Town Police, around one thousand persons were part of the attack. The charge sheet, however, named only 113 persons.

It said the vehicles were pelted with stones and hit with sticks and rods. The window pane of the chief minister's SUV was smashed and he suffered injuries on his forehead from the glass shards. Congress leaders T Siddique and K C Joseph were also hurt after glass pieces hit them.

Oommen Chandy, then chief minister of Kerala, shows the injuries to his son, Chandy Oommen. File photo: Manorama

The accused were charged with attempt to murder (Section 307 of the IPC), unlawful assembly (Section 143 of the IPC), armed with deadly weapon and rioting (Sections 144, 148 of the IPC), wrongful confinement (Section 343 of the IPC), and conspiracy (Section 120B of the IPC).

The trial began on November 7, 2014. Chandy appeared in court and gave his statement.

But the prosecution could prove only the damage to public property, which the police estimated at Rs 5 lakh.

"From the judgment, it is clear the prosecution could prove the attack on the chief minister's vehicle. So there should be an inquiry on why it failed to prove the attack on the chief minister who was inside the car and suffered injuries," said Kannur's District Congress President Martin George.

Also, among the 113 accused, only three were found guilty. "Two of the three persons are no longer with the CPM. That mystery should also be a subject of investigation," he said.

COT Naseer talking to mediapersons from the hospital after being hacked in Thalassery town on May 18, 2019.

'I'm suffering because of CPM's factionalism'
Naseer belongs to an influential family in Thalassery and was a popular youth leader of the CPM.

He said he refused to renew his membership in the party after the then-party secretary Pinarayi Vijayan insisted that he mention Islam as his religion in the membership form. "I first wrote homo sapiens. He refused to accept it and wrote a letter to me. I changed it to human. It was also not accepted. Then I wrote to Prakash Karat. He, too, refused to see the reason," he said.

That was in 2014. A year before that, he was caught in the case of the attack on the chief minister. By the time the trial began, his equation with the CPM changed.

He contested the Lok Sabha election as a rebel candidate against CPM strongman P Jayarajan in Vadakara in April 2019. On May 18, a few days before the results were declared he was hacked and brutally assaulted in Thalassery town.

Naseer accused A N Shamseer in the case.

Later, he contested the Assembly Election as a candidate of the Indian Gandhiyan Party against Shamseer in Thalassery in 2021.

When the BJP's candidate was disqualified, the party said it would support Naseer. He initially welcomed it but then said he would not need it citing ideological differences. The Congress had also tried to woo him.

Against this backdrop, Naseer said he did not find the verdict surprising.

"I was charged with conspiracy in the Oommen Chandy case. How come I am found guilty of destroying public property? If that is the case, all the accused should have been found guilty of it. I was not even near the vehicle," he said. He blamed his plight on the factionalism in the CPM.

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