Even as the Kerala government has announced that not more than 150 people can attend meetings held outdoors due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, hundreds of people took part in a mega thiruvathira (a traditional dance by women) at Parassala in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday, January 12, which was held as part of the district congress of CPI(M). Further, the timing of the thiruvathira also coincided with that of the ambulance carrying the body of slain SFI leader Dheeraj Rajendran, as it was travelling from Idukki to his native place in Kannur, inviting severe criticism against the party.
The mega thiruvathira was held at CSI School grounds in Cheruvarakonam, Thiruvananthapuram. Education Minister V Sivankutty on Thursday said that the mega festival held in connection with the convention could have been avoided, due to Dheeraj's death, as well as because of the third wave of COVID-19 infections.
Twenty-one-year-old student-activist Dheeraj Rajendran was killed and two others seriously injured in clashes that broke out at the Government Engineering College in Idukki district on January 10. He was a member of the Studentsâ€™ Federation of India (SFI) and the SFI has alleged that Dheeraj was stabbed to death by members of the Youth Congress.
Barely two days after the alleged murder, when his body was being taken to his native place for cremation, a mega thiruvathirakkali organised in connection with the CPI(M)â€™s Thiruvananthapuram district conference was held on Tuesday, as planned, in which party politburo member MA Baby, minister V Sivankutty and CPI(M) district secretary Anavoor Nagappan were present.
The event was organised by All India Democratic Womenâ€™s Association (AIDWA), prior to the partyâ€™s district conference, which is to be held from January 14 to 16. Nearly 500 women reportedly performed to songs extolling the virtues of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the LDF government.
According to a report in The New Indian Express, Congress state chief K Sudhakaran stated that the party was celebrating the death of Dheeraj by organising the event and in response, several CPI(M) sympathisers registered their protest on social media.
Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief K Sudhakaran, on Wednesday, criticised the ruling CPI(M) and claimed that the left party was more keen to buy land to construct a memorial for the deceased student rather than mourning his death .
The Parassala police have registered a case against district panchayat member V R Salooja, who is also the health standing committee member, and 550 women performers for organising the mega thiruvathira event.