20080510

Police‘Duress’ Has Woman Join Maoists


High Court staffer goes underground citing harassment by cops. Embarrassed state government yet to respond


KA SHAJI
Thiruvananthapuram


YOUR GOVERNMENT and your police have made me a Maoist. They have given me the political will to become a full-time Maoist instead of just being an ideological sympathiser,” wrote PA Shyna in a letter to the Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan. The chief minister, who received the letter last week, has chosen to ignore the issue.

Hailing from an affluent Muslim family of central Kerala, Shyna is risking not only her life but also the future of her two small daughters by adopting Maoism. But she blames her move on the Kerala police and its continuing atrocities on her family.

The Kerala Police raided Shyna’s house on January 10 this year following a ‘tip-off’ that some Maoists from West Bengal were holding a secret meeting there. The police took into custody several human rights activists who had come from Nandigram, West Bengal, along with Shyna and her children. Though no case was registered, the police insisted that Shyna had connections with banned Maoist groups in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.

Shyna went underground with her children after the police raided a house in Perumbavoor, where a top CPI (Maoist) leader from Andhra Pradesh had stayed during last February. A special team of the Andhra Pradesh police nabbed Malla Raja Reddy from Angamaly in December 2007. Reddy later confessed that he and his aide had come to Kerala earlier that month.

The police said it Shyna’s house to “locate a laptop which allegedly belonged to Reddy,” after the family fled. Though they had no evidence to substantiate their claim, police have often claimed that Shyna and her husband Roopesh hid Reddy in their house.

Anticipating further trouble, she decided to quit her job and sent the resignation letter by registered post. The registrar of high court refused to accept it and she had to send a messenger carrying the letter later.

“Problems of everyday existence and the responsibility to look after the needs of the children had prevented me from active political work. These were the reasons why I had chosen the clerical work. Now the policemen are behind me and the education of my children remains affected even though I had never associated with any ultra Left organisation,’’ says Shyna justifying her decision to join the Maoists.

Kerala High Court registrar Sathish Chandran refused to comment on the issue.

ACCORDING TO TA Sudheesh, former president of High Court Staff Association, “Two years have gone since Shyna left her post. When the registrar issued the termination order, the union exerted pressure to revoke it. Shyna had no extremist links then. I don’t know why she is choosing the Maoist path now.” Shyna was also the association’s vice-president.

Kochi Police Commissioner Manoj Abraham said there was no case pending against Shyna under his jurisdiction. Though police from Kalamassery town police station conducted the raids, no case is registered there.

A strong Marxist sympathiser in her initial years, Shyna started distancing herself from the CPM during her college days. After her post-graduation, she chose the job of a clerk with the Kerala High Court in 1998.

Shyna’s woes started soon after she formed the Cochin Export Processing Zone Workers Union (CEPZ). The companies in the CEPZ paid low wages and the employees faced extreme working conditions. By organising the workers, Shyna started to highlight their plight, say her associates.

Shyna was also associated with the Adivasi Gothra Maha Sabha, an apolitical organisation, which fought for the restoration of tribal land. According to high court sources, it was her appearance at such public platforms that invited action from the authorities who said it was a violation of service rules. But Shyna justified her involvement saying she was never part of any political group and was fighting for human rights.

Though the probation period in the court was two years, Shyna had to work for four years. At the end of the fourth year, there were attempts to terminate her services without citing any reason. The move was revoked following intervention of the Kerala High Court Staff Association.

Kerala Police dubbed Shyna a Maoist when she criticised them for allowing the Andhra Pradesh police to arrest CPI(ML) Maoist Central Committee member Santo Raja Mouli from Kollam in southern Kerala.

“I have committed nothing wrong and history will absolve me,” says Shyna. “I feel Maoism is the better option to fight state terror. The credit for making me a Maoist goes to the Left government and its police. You made me a Maoist.’’

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