Last Thursday, Naushad, an auto driver, died while attempting to save two contract labourers who were trapped inside a manhole in Kozhikode. Naushad could have walked away, like most passersby do, but he chose to do what he could, though in vain as all three died in the unfortunate incident.
What should have become a case for unanimous condemnation of pathetic conditions in which labourers work in and salutation of Naushad’s sacrifice, has instead turned into a slug-fest.
It all started with a comment made by SNDP leader Vellapally Natesan at the Samathwa Munnetta Yatra held in Ernakulam on Sunday. He said, “In Kozhikode one Naushad has died. The Chief Minister gave Rs 10 lakh compensation to his family and gave a job to his family member. So it is better to die as a Muslim in Kerala. If a Muslim or a Christian dies somewhere, a gang of ministers from Thiruvananthapuram will reach the spot. If someone from our community dies, not even a dog comes there.”
The clamour for an apology and a case against Natesan started immediately with CPI(M) state committee secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan hitting out strongly against the SNDP leader. “Progressive forces have played a great role in building this secular culture in Kerala. It cannot be destroyed. Case should be registered against Vellapally who wants to destroy the progressive Kerala’s secular nature, “Kodiyeri said.
Kerala Chief Minister too condemned Vellapally’s remarks which he said were meant to ruin the social fabric of Kerala.
Kerala Police by Monday evening registered an FIR against Vellapally under Section 153(A) of IPC for promoting enmity between groups.
Meanwhile, actor and filmmaker Anoop Menon’s Facebook post on the issue garnered a lot of attention. Anoop wrote that Naushad who was just a lovable human being before his death had now been changed into a man belonging to a certain religion.
“Naushad you should not have died, and given them this chance to say that you were just anout your religion. Without any regrets, for not helping those people, you could have gone home to your wife, who was waiting for you. You could have been a spectator like most of us. While the dead bodies were taken out from the manhole, you could have taken a selfie along with them. Later, you could have roamed around the sweet market with your wife and children. But you did not do that, and you died for two other lives. Looking from there, if you can see the mockery here, then laugh. Because you alone know now that it was not a Muslim and two Hindus inside the manhole, just three lives.