They could be heard wailing, but that did not stop the police and bank officials from dragging out an old couple from their home in Trippunithura in Kerala’s Ernakulam district.
Raman Korangattu, 77, a tuberculosis patient and his wife Vilasini, 70, a heart patient, were forcefully dragged out of their house by police for falling to pay back a bank loan.
As TV channels beamed visuals of this heartless eviction, there was much outrage. The Chief Minister and local politicians intervened soon enough, allowing the couple to go back to their homes.
The couple were evicted as they had failed to pay Rs 2.7 lakh to the Tripunithura Housing Cooperative Society, a society under the CPI (M). They had taken a loan of Rs 1.5 lakh from the society in 2006. As they did not pay the amount the society had sold the property to another person for Rs 5 lakh through an auction.
The house with two rooms is less than 500 square feet. The family consists of the aged couple, their son Dineshan, his wife Maya and their two daughters.
On Friday afternoon, the Maradu police along with society officials mercilessly dragged them out, Suresh an eye witness to the incident told The News Minute.
“The old man was dragged out by four police men. They held his hands and lifted him. They dragged him to the police jeep. Police shouted at whoever questioned this inhuman act,” he added.
He also said that no mercy was shown to Vilasini too. The couple were taken to the nearest government hospital as they had no other place to go.
However, after media reports on the eviction, CPI (M) Ernakulam district committee Secretary P Rajeev and some others leaders rushed to the spot.
By 9 pm on Friday the family was allowed to return to their home.
Though the couple were able to return back to their house following the CM’s intervention, the property is still under the ownership of another person.
“We have no other option, my husband and I are sick. My son is also not well, his legs got injured in an accident. How will our family survive? Yesterday we had no other option other than resisting the eviction,” Vilasini told Mathrubhumi News.
P Rajeev told media that party will ensure that the person who bought the property was compensated and the documents will be given back to the family.
“We will make sure that the family gets back its property. If there are any flaws with the co-operative society, we will enquire about it. There is also a complaint that eviction was cruel and merciless, that too will be probed. The immediate action was following the court order secured by the person who bought the property. This family lives in a house which doesn’t even have basic amenities, we will make sure that they have a better house,” he said.
Ernakulam South circle inspector Siby Tom however justified the police action. He told TNM that police officials try to be as nice as possible, but if people refuse to vacate, it is the police’s duty to carry out the court instruction and use force if needed.