A 24-year-old CPI (ML) member named Mariappan was decapitated allegedly by communal forces in Tirunelveli on July 20.
600 people including Mariappan’s family, his pregnant wife and comrades have been on a fast since Friday morning; they have declared that they will neither eat nor receive the body until all the accused were arrested.
Mariappan was fighting for a case involving caste clashes between the Konar or Tamil Yadavar community, and the Vannar community (Mariappan was a Vannar). On July 20, Mariappan had appeared in court along with two witnesses regarding a case dating back to 2013. He was threatened by witnesses that he would be decapitated.
The case dating to 2013 was about the community holding a funeral procession along an arterial corporation road, that lead to furore among elements closely associated with the Hindu Munnani outfit.
On July 20, Sundararajan, an accused in the case, had warned Mariappan that he would be killed on that same day alleged the CPI(ML).
“They declared that they would cut off his head,” says Soundarapandian, the CPIML Secretary in Tirunelveli. Mariappan however, did not return to his home that day.
The next morning, his decapitated body was found near a forest area and his head was found in the evening.
Three out of the five accused have been arrested and the enquiry is underway. Ramiyya, Pechivel and Jeeva Shanmugasundaram are currently in police custody. Sundararajan and one more accused is currently on the run.
Since 2007, Mariappan had been an activist of the CPI (ML), as well as AICCTU and RYA. His father Shankar is the branch secretary of the party in Ward 44 of Tirunelveli town.
According to Soundarapandian, CPIML branches are active in wards 43 and 44 in Tirunelveli, with predominant members from the working class and the Konar community.
In ward 44, leaders from the dominant caste would allegedly disallow anyone from the Konar community from contesting local body elections.
After the 2013 roadblock incident, the party filed a complaint against the attack on Mariappan, who was also a complainant and witness in the case.
Mariappan’s wife Vidya who is expecting her first baby had been threatened recently. “Sundararajan came to his home and kicked her in the belly when she was 7 months pregnant and wished for the baby to die,” Soundarapandian said.