Kochi: The red volunteers scheduled to march through the streets of Thrissur in the next four days as part of the State Conference of the CPM may not have a clear answer if someone asked them who killed Azhikodan Raghavan, the CPM state secretariat member and the convener of the then Left Front, way back in 1972. Even 46 years after the incident that shocked the state, neither the CPM cadres nor the society at large are not having a clear idea about the killers.
A majority of party workers, trying their level best to make the party conference in Thrissur, beginning from Thursday, a memorable event, was not even born when Azhikodan was waylaid by the assailants and stabbed to death on the night of September 23, 1972, near Kokkala, at the heart of the city.
The five persons arrested and convicted of the murder have persistently denied any role in the incident and the first accused the C.V. Ignatious in 2006 has approached even the national and state human rights commissions to order for conducting a polygraph test on him to prove the veracity of his claim. Although his petition has been rejected by the commissions Ignatious insisted about his innocence in the unpublished autobiography titled Oru Athmakathayezhuthumbol before his death three years ago.
Although CPM ideologue EMS Namboodirippad, the then leader of opposition in the state assembly accused home minister K. Karunakaran for his direct involvement in the murder, the CPM has not made any effort to unravel the linkages.
K. Venu, a former Naxalite ideologue who has written a forward for the autobiography of Ignatious pointed out that CPM has used the incident to isolate and destroy the group led by A.V. Aryan, former Thrissur district secretary of the party, who fell out with the CPM leadership.
The CPM also wanted to politically destroy Ignatious, who was then the most formidable trade union leader in Thrissur, says Venu. The late Nawab Rajendran, a maverick journalist, also openly accused of the complicity of Karunakaran in the incident.
Dr T.K. Vijayaraghavan, a close friend of Ignatious, also vouches for his innocence. “He never had any doubt about his innocence but was not having any clue about who were actual culprits”, Dr. Vijayaraghavan told this newspaper.