The first term of the Pinarayi Vijayan government saw his image take a beating with the infamous gold smuggling case, which saw his powerful principal secretary and senior bureaucrat M. Sivasankar landing behind bars.
In the second term that began in May this year, the callous way of handling a complaint from the granddaughter of one of the topmost yesteryear party leaders appears to have taken a heavy toll with even the national leadership of the party criticizing the way his office handled the complaint.
Twenty-two-year-old Anupama, hailing from the capital city, has been running from pillar to post to get her child back who, she claimed, was taken away by her parents last October, immediately after she gave birth at a hospital here.
Daughter of a local CPI-M leader Jayachandran, Anupama fell in love with the youth wing leader of the party — Ajith, a Dalit Christian, who was already married.
After Ajith got officially divorced early this year, the two have been living together.
The first person in the CPI-M that Anupama complained to was politburo member Brinda Karat.
According to a source in the know of things Karat called up the political secretary of Vijayan, Puthelethu Dineshan, and asked him to do the needful.
But now it has come out that for some reason Dineshan failed to act with the young mother hoping that her party will come to her aid. Nothing happened even when they complained to Vijayan, CPI-M acting state secretary A. Vijayaraghavan, the police chief, and the Kerala State Child Welfare Council.
The first signs of the Vijayan government taking some action came on Saturday after Karat came down heavily at a time when the politburo meeting of the party is currently on in Delhi. She told the media in Delhi that a crime has been committed.
“A baby has been taken away and this is a tragedy of immense proportions. What happened is totally wrong and inhuman. She should get her baby back,” said Karat.
Health Minister Veena George who also handles the Social Justice department and is a journalist turned two-time legislator was also silent. It took her several days to come out publicly and it was only after the Kerala media took up Anupama’s case in a big way.
“The state government has no two opinions as it is the right of the mother to get back the child and we will be doing everything for that. The state government has ordered a probe,” said George.
Why Saturday for Anupama turned out to be crucial was that she and her husband decided to undertake a day-long fast in front of the Secretariat, where the entire media was out in full strength and she was consoled by hundreds of people who came to support them.
Soon came the news that the state government has decided to stop the adoption procedures for Anupama’s baby, being done by the concerned government agency. It has been decided to inform the local court, which was going forward with the adoption.
Anupama after ending her day-long fast said today is the first time that they have got some hope that they will get their child back.
“We were planning to approach the court and now the news that has come is heartening that the state government has decided to act. When we really wanted help my party and the police did not come to our help,” said Anupama.
Earlier she had alleged that when she was pregnant her parents tried to get the pregnancy aborted and when it was not medically possible, she was subjected to physical and mental torture.
Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan said many people fail to understand the double standards of the CPI-M when on the one hand it shouts from the rooftops about equality and respect for women, and when it came to their own person, see what they did.
“Just imagine, if this case saw the involvement of a Youth Congress activist. I shudder to think how and what the CPI-M would have done to score brownie points. I just want to ask, what was the party and the authorities doing for the past six months when this hapless young mother was knocking on all doors. The party took over the law and it’s sad and shameless that the authorities acted only after the media took it up. It clearly shows how the CPI-M handles things,” said Satheesan.
Taking potshots at local CPI-M legislator P.R. Prasanth, who was her opponent in the April 6 Assembly polls, Veena Nair wrote on Facebook asking him if he was aware of his own party worker staging a protest in front of the Secretariat seeking to get her child back.
“Are you aware that she did not get justice and do you have any role in that? Who are you fearing and why don’t you act and go and see them at their protest venue,” said Veena Nair, a young Congress leader.
With the assembly set to resume from Monday, Vijayan is likely to face a tough time as the Congress-led Opposition is expected to take him on in a big way. Perhaps for the first time, Anupama might learn where her baby boy is housed at present.
(With IANS inputs)