The strike was called off after the Chief Minister’s office had a discussion with the CSI church and partly agreed to the demands raised by Viji.

Sanal Kumar death Wife Viji ends 22-day protest after church interventionImages: Sreekesh Raveendran Nair
news Protest Tuesday, January 01, 2019 - 07:54

Viji, wife of Sanal Kumar who was killed after an altercation with a police officer, called off her 22-day protest in front of the Secretariat, in Thiruvananthapuram, on Monday. Sitting in a small tent with her family, including her two sons – aged four and three – Viji had silently observed her protest, asking the Kerala government for a job and compensation to pay off the debts Sanal had.

“We decided to end the protest following the intervention of the CSI church,” says Varghese, Viji’s father, who, too, had sat with his daughter all these days. So did Sanal’s aged mother. “The government didn’t seem interested to talk to the Sanal Kumar Action Council, which was instrumental in organising the protest. So they called on the church and held discussions at the Chief Minister’s Office,” Varghese tells TNM.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was, however, not there during the discussions, following which, the church asked Viji and family to end their protest.

Varghese says the CMO has guaranteed the church that Viji would be given compensation and a job. Viji had requested for Rs 35 lakh, the amount required to pay off the debts that had fallen on Sanal when his father passed away, and now on Viji. Twenty-six-year-old Viji with her two toddlers had no way to pay off this huge amount.

“As of now, they have offered a smaller amount – Rs 15 lakh – which is usually offered in such cases; but the church has assured us that we would be receiving more," Varghese says.

A few days ago actor and BJP MP Suresh Gopi visited Viji and contributed Rs 3 lakh. The ‘akshaya pathram’ (collection box), which was kept at the protest venue, received approximately Rs 50,000, Varghese reckons. But there’re still lakhs more to be paid.

The church's intervention appears to have come as a blessing. “The children were getting tired and I, too, was having health issues,” says Viji, who even fainted one day at the protest venue. 

Varghese also says that the Dr GR Public School in Neyyattinkara has offered to sponsor the education of the two boys up to class 12. “We have taken admission there. We just need to take care of their transport.”

The family has reached their home in Manaloor, about 1.5 kilometres away from the spot where Sanal lost his young life. Sanal was only 32 when DySP Harikumar and he had an argument that would end both their lives. Following his death, there were large-scale protests and demands for the police officer’s arrest. Nine days later, Harikumar killed himself. 

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