Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Rape charge levelled against CPM activists

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Four female activists of the Sadhujana Vimochana Samyuktha Vedi, involved in a year-long agitation for land at Chengara in Pathanamthitta district have alleged that they were raped by CPM workers.

The tribal women, four of them, were allegedly kidnapped by the CPM cadres during the wee hours of August 7, taken to the godown of the Harrisson Plantations and molested. They were let off by 4.30 a.m., after being kept in the godown for nearly three hours.

The women, according to Vedi leader Laha Gopalan, went out of the plantation area in the night to fetch food after they were informed that the CPM cadres who had been laying siege to the agitation area for days, had dispersed. The CPM cadres and the police, Laha Gopalan alleges, were trying to starve the Vedi activists to death.

The women were standing in front of a shop that was open at midnight when a group of men forced them into a jeep and sped away. The women have not registered a complaint with the police. ``Their husbands too are not in the know of things. We don’t want their families to be destroyed,’’ Gopalan said. Three of the women are married and have children.

He said that the women came out into the open only after two male activists were found in a battered condition at the Harrisson godown on August 8. ``This practice of taking our activists to the godown and beating them up has become a regular feature,’’ he alleged.

Earlier, during a press conference held on August 7, Laha Gopalan had alleged that the CPM, the owner of Harrison Malayalam Ltd and the goondas have unleashed terror in Chengara with the support of the police. He said that the people who were taking part in the agitation were not being allowed to move out of the area and nobody was allowed from outside to enter the area.

``The people were not able to buy rice and other necessary items and medicines. Children are not able to go to school,’’ Laha Gopalan said.

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