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Boycott call on college killing

Bangalore: Kerala finance minister Thomas Isaac has called for a social boycott of the Social Democratic Party of India and the Popular Front of India in a withering attack on the two outfits accused of murdering a student activist.

“The entire community should stand united in boycotting this gang of hardened criminals from all social activities,” the minister said in a hard-hitting Facebook message in Malayalam. “These people don’t even deserve a friendly smile.”

The SDPI, a political party that claims to focus on minorities and Dalits, has denied any role in the murder of Abhimanyu, 20, an activist of the ruling CPM’s student wing SFI. The Popular Front is the SDPI’s ideological organ.

Abhimanyu, a second-year chemistry student of Maharaja’s College in Ernakulam, was knifed outside the campus after midnight on Sunday after a clash over a college wall. The SFI had booked the wall to paint graffiti to welcome the new batches that were to start classes on Monday.

Isaac, an alumnus of the college, questioned the very basis of the SDPI, the PFI and the PFI’s student wing Campus Front, calling them “criminal gangs of religious extremists”.

All three have courted controversy earlier by advocating a rigid form of Islam. “To protect minority rights, Kerala does not need the help of IS (Islamic State) murderers,” he wrote, alluding to the alleged links of these groups with the militant outfit. “Minorities have been living in Kerala for centuries without their help. It will be so even in the future.”

Pinarayi Vijayan. File picture

The CPM and chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan had earlier condemned the murder.

Isaac said a “social boycott of the SDPI and the PFI is what the martyrdom of Abhimanyu is asking from Kerala society”.

“Yes. The Popular Front and the SDPI are religious extremists,” he added. “They sharpen their knives in the name of religion. It is also in the name of religion that they issue threats.”

Isaac explained why he was calling the three groups religious extremists. “It is in the name of religion that the Campus Front… decides what students should wear when they go on excursions,” he said. “Other than religious extremists, what else should we call such people?”

Police have rounded up over a hundred activists from the three groups. Mohammed, the Campus Front chief of the college unit who is alleged to have called in the SDPI activists during the brawl, is absconding.

State police chief Loknath Behera said the force was thinking of slapping the tough Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on the three groups.

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