The Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan stoked a controversy on Friday after he, along with the CPI(M) leaders in Kerala, gave a hero’s farewell to a murder-convict party leader, PK Kunjananthan, who died on Thursday.
According to reports, Kerala CM and CPI(M) leaders gave a glowing farewell after the death of 72-year-old PK Kunjananthan, leader from Kannur district. PK Kunjananthan, who was an influential leader and also an aide of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was in 2014 convicted in a political murder case and sentenced to life imprisonment.
PK Kunjananthan, a member of CPI(M) area committee at Kannur, died of an intestinal infection at Medical College Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram, on Thursday night.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condoled Kunjananthan’s death and hailed the deceased leader as “a comrade who had selflessly loved the party and exhibited concern towards society. As a social worker, he had won the acceptance and love of all sections of people in Panur”.
In a Facebook post, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan claimed that PK Kunjananthan was a committed social worker who spent his entire life for the society. He also added that people in Panur liked Kunjananthan irrespective of the political differences.
However, the incumbent Chief Minister hailing and praising a murder accused was not received well as various social media users and also citizens criticised him for supporting a murder convict.
Not just Pinarayi Vijayan, several Communist party leaders including CPI(M) central committee members visited the hospital and shouted slogans hailing the deceased as a “martyr who will never die”.
At Panur, several CPI(M) leaders and workers paid tribute to the deceased leader and observed a hartal to pay respects for Kunjananthan.
PK Kunjanathan convicted for murder, granted parole several times
PK Kunjanathan was on bail on health grounds at the time of death. Kunjananthan, along with 11 others, was held guilty in the murder of CPI(M) rebel leader TP Chandrasekharan in 2012 in Kozhikode district. Kunjananthan who was a close associate of Pinarayi Vijayan has been serving a life sentence for conspiracy charges in the murder of TP Chandrasekharan.
In 2012, that TP Chandrasekharan, a former CPI(M) member who had quit the party over ideological differences was brutally murdered by Communist party workers. The investigation had revealed that TP Chandrasekharan was stabbed 51 times by the accused.
Later, during the investigation, the police found out that it was PK Kunjananthan who was the mastermind behind the murder of TP Chandrasekharan. The CPI(M) leader was later convicted by the court in July 2014. However, his jail term was surrounded by controversies.
Soon after the CPI(M) led the LDF back to power in 2016, Kunjananthan was granted parole frequently, which was even flagged by the Kerala High Court. On March 14 this year, he was given the parole once again Kunjananthan bail for three months for treatment. Since his conviction for six years, Kunjanathan had enjoyed more than 400 days of parole.
During his parole days, Kunjanathan had attended party events and conferences and eventually got elected to the CPI(M) area committee even after he was convicted in a murder case.