The organisations affiliated to the Sunni group led by Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker Musaliyar want the appointment of Sriram Venkitaraman, an accused in the death of a journalist, to be revoked. 

Muslim organisations hold protest march against Sriram IAS
news Protest Saturday, July 30, 2022 - 17:18

Muslim organisations affiliated to the Sunni group led by Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker Musaliyar on Saturday, July 30, staged a protest march in front of the state secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram and all district collectorates against the appointment of Sriram Venkitaraman – accused in the death of journalist KM Basheer – as the Alappuzha district collector. The Sunni Yuvajana Sangham (SYS) and Sunni Students Federation (SSF) participated in the protests organised by Kerala Muslim Jamaath. They have demanded that Sriram’s appointment should be revoked. 

Condemning the decision by the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front government, the SSF had earlier told The New Indian Express that it was highly deplorable and a challenge to justice. It said that the government was appeasing bureaucrats instead of asking the tainted person to stay away from key positions. Giving such an important position to an accused person was tantamount to insulting the public, the SSF said. 

According to the report, the Kanthapuram faction feels the CPI(M) has taken the group’s support for granted and believes that the protests will send a strong signal to the LDF that Sunnis will not take it lying down. 

Senior leaders of the Congress party, including General Secretary (Organisation) KC Venugopal, have also condemned the decision of the Kerala government to appoint Sriram Venkitaraman as Alappuzha District Collector. The District Congress Committee of Alappuzha conducted a protest at the district collectorate on Monday, July 25. 

KC Venugopal said the Collector is supposed to stand with the people and it was unfortunate that a person like Venkitaraman, facing serious allegations, was appointed to the post. Stating that they will continue to agitate till the government revokes its decision, he told News9 that people in Alappuzha are at the receiving end of natural calamities, crop loss and the pandemic. “The government should have appointed a person who can understand the problems faced by the poor in Alappuzha,” he said, adding that a man accused of causing the death of an innocent man in an accident has been given the post.

The Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) too had organised a protest on Monday asking the state government to withdraw the decision. 

Venkitaraman was serving as the Managing director of Kerala Medical Services Corporation before the government ordered his transfer to Alappuzha. 

As per the chargesheet, Venkitaraman is the first accused in the case concerning the death of journalist K M Basheer, 35, in Thiruvananthapuram on August 3, 2019. Basheer was an employee of Siraj daily in Thiruvananthapuram at the time of the incident.  

Watch: Why custodial deaths keep happening in India

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