Friday, December 08, 2006

After 30 years, probe sought into death of two youths

Please Sign the petition asking for an inquiry into Custodial Death of Varkala Vijayan During the State of Emergency in India, 1975-77
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After 30 years, probe sought into death of two youths
Friday December 8 2006 00:00 IST


T’PURAM: American thinker Noam Chomsky and author-activist Arundhati Roy have signed an online petition seeking a fresh inquiry into the killing of two youths during the emergency rule of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi 30 years ago.

The forum that initiated the campaign petition has met Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan with the signatures of 16 prominent people. It says a wide section of people have expressed support for the cause.

“We posted an online petition on, governed by Amnesty International. The response has been encouraging,” J Reghu, the convenor of the forum, told IANS. The two youths who died were Varkala Vijayan, a Naxalite, and P Rajan, a student at the Regional Engineering College in Kozhikode.

Vijayan, who went underground when Indira Gandhi imposed emergency in June 1975, was arrested and taken to a police camp here March 5, 1976. He died in police custody. His body was never traced.

In 1998, Dayanandan, a driver in the police, revealed that he had transported Vijayan’s body to Ponmudi hills, 90 km from here, to be burnt so that evidence of the crime was destroyed. Dayanandan, however, died two years ago.

Rajan too died in illegal police custody after being whisked away from his hostel March 1, 1976. That death saw former chief minister K Karunakaran step down after the Kerala High Court indicted the state government. Achuthanandan, who had promised a re-investigation into custodial deaths before taking power, has not been able to do much so far. Reghu said he found Achuthanandan’s response to the petition to be very “cold”.

“Nothing was spoken. He took the petition and said he would do the needful,” he said. Chomsky has signed the petition seeking a fresh inquiry. He also sent an email to the forum.

“Now the response is piling up and we will send mail in batches of 200 each to Achuthanandan. If nothing happens, then we will take this up in New Delhi and in other parts of the world,” said Reghu.

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