Hours after multiple attacks were unleashed in Thiruvananthapuram, at the BJP office and at the residences of the BJP and CPI(M) leaders in the city, the BJP has released CCTV footage of one of the attacks, at the party office in Thiruvananthapuram.
While both the parties have blamed each other for the attack, the leaked CCTV footage shows five people attacking the BJP office at 1.19 am, three police officers either tried to run from the goons or remained mute spectators; only one officer tried to stop the attack, in vain.
The chain of violence seems to have started after students belonging to the ABVP vandalised an SFI flag at the homeo college in Iranimuttam. Though the issue was sorted out after talks between SFI, ABVP and DYFI leaders, the attacks started later in the night. One of the first attacks to be reported was on DYFI Chala Area Secretary Unni's house.
In the 2 minute 11 second video, two men can be seen arriving at the BJP office on a motorbike.
The pillion rider - the police has now confirmed to TNM - is a CPI(M) counselor called IP Binu. He has a thick log or rod in his hand.
Just as the bike stops in front of the gate, two policemen get down from a patrol vehicle parked a few metres away. While one of them runs towards the two men on the bike, the second police officer slowly turns and goes back into the vehicle, perhaps to call for backup.
Binu can be seen yelling something to the policeman who is running towards him, but the officer comes closer, and takes out his notepad to take down their details.
Thatâ€™s when Binu gets down from the bike, and stands defiantly in front of the cop. As Binu continues to be defiant, the police officer removes a cloth or a plastic bag that is covering the bikeâ€™s number plate. He starts taking down the number of the bike, when Binu gestures something to his companion who was riding the bike.
Just then, two other bikes are entering the street, and this emboldens Binu and his companion. As Binu starts acting aggressive, he throws down a cigarette he was holding, and his companion pelts a stone at the BJP office.
The second policeman is standing away from the altercation, as the first cop follows Binu, who has sneaked past him, inside the office.
Meanwhile, two policemen come out from the office - and literally run away from the goons. Binuâ€™s driver has been joined by one of the men who came of one of the two bikes, and the two of them enter the BJP office even as the pelt stones at it.
Once inside the office compound, Binu goes on a rampage, hitting the cars parked outside with the rod in hand, while the policeman tries to restrain him. Just then, another attacker enters the compound and pelts huge stones at the office and the cars for a few seconds, without any cop trying to stop the attack. By this time, the policeman has managed to drag Binu out of the compound.
Binu can then be seen threatening the officer, even as stones continue to be pelted at the office. The other three police officials on the scene are conspicuous by their inaction.
They then come out, and the officer single handedly tries to stop them from riding away - but to no avail. Before the goons absconded from the spot, Binu can be seen in a physical altercation with the policeman, where he pushes him and hits him with his rod/log, while his companion kicks him multiple times, for trying to take away the weapon.
The three other policemen are still cowering, as the five attackers gang up on the officer who was trying to do something. When they hesitatingly tried to come near the gang, Binu can be seen threatening them to keep away.
The goons then ride away, and the one officer who tried to act is the only one trying to do something even then - he takes the walkie talkie and makes a report, while his colleagues just dally around.
Who were the attackers?
The Commissioner of police Sparjan Kumar has confirmed to TNM that one of the five attackers seen in the CCTV footage is IP Binu, a CPI(M) counselor from Kunnukuzhi in Thiruvananthapuram. Binu is absconding, according to the police, along with the other four, so far unidentified men.
Meanwhile, the police have taken six BJP members into custody, who were allegedly involved in a similar attack at the houses of CPI(M) leaders in Thiruvananthapuram.
Multiple targets on both sides
Between Thursday night and Friday morning, several attacks took place across Thiruvananthapuram, targeting BJP and CPI(M) leaders.
Along with the BJP party office, the attacks targeted several party functionaries on both sides.
CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnanâ€™s son, Bineesh Kodiyeriâ€™s residence was also attacked.
While the BJP has accused CPI(M) of targeting their state president Kummanam Rajasekharan, who was reportedly present at the BJP office at the time of the attack, the CPI(M) has pointed a finger back at the BJP. CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan alleged that such attacks on CPI(M) cadre are being unleashed by BJP to take away attention from the medical college scam.
Non bailable cases filed
Thiruvananthapuram range IG Manoj Abraham told media that security has been tightened in the city. 450 police personnel have been deployed in the city, and patrolling has been ordered.
The police have also filed cases against all the attackers involved in the multiple incidents that happened between Thursday night and Friday morning. They have also formed special teams to arrest all the culprits.
â€śThe two policemen involved in inaction before the office have been placed under suspension," said Thiruvananthapuram range IG Manoj Abraham.
The IG also said that the District Collector will be instructed to give orders to remove all party flags from public areas, and to stop defacement of electric posts. â€śA ban will be imposed on all processions for three days,â€ť he said.
Police security outside CPI (M) office in Kannur in view of the multiple attacks in the capital city. Photo by Mohan SK
(Edited by Ragamalika Karthikeyan)