When 54-year-old Valsala Krishnankutty, who works as a domestic worker, went to a shop in Alappuzhaâ€™s Punnapra in August 2021 to buy a mobile phone, she did not imagine that she would be embroiled in a political murder. However, months later, the police knocked on her door and demanded to know why a SIM card issued in her name was involved in the murder of BJP functionary Ranjith Sreenivas in December.
Ranjith was hacked to death in front of his family at his home in Alappuzha on December 19, hours after an SDPI leader was murdered in the same district. After police found that a SIM card in Valsalaâ€™s name was used to plot Ranjithâ€™s murder, the police questioned Valsala three times. "I was very upset when the police questioned me. I fainted at the station and the police took me to the hospital. I came to my house and could not eat for days," she told reporters. Upon investigation, the police found that the mobile shop that Valsala had visited in August was run by one Badusha, an SDPI member who is an accused in the case.
From her visit to the shop, Badusha was able to get her Aadhaar number and other personal details, police said. He was then able to register the SIM card in her name in a bid to draw suspicion away from him. Police also found that Valsala was coerced into going to the shop in the first place by Zulfikar S, a panchayat member and SDPI leader.
The police have booked a case against Badusha and Zuklfikar at the Punnapra police station in Alappuzha based on Valsalaâ€™s statement. So far, 10 people have been arrested in connection with Ranjithâ€™s murder, including Badusha and Punnapra.
Alappzuha was rocked with back-to-back killings of the political leaders, which led to the police clamping down prohibitory orders in the district. An all-party meeting was also convened, condemning the murders.