CPM leader, CITU activists attack Kerala bus owner

Trade union hooliganism is on display as a bus owner is assaulted for removing union flags in Kottayam

| Updated: 26 June, 2023 10:58 pm IST
Raj Mohan, the bus owner, was manhandled by CPM leader KR Ajay and CITU activists

KOTTAYAM, KERALA: Trade union hooliganism was displayed in broad daylight when a Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) leader, along with Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) activists, assaulted a bus owner who removed the trade union flags that were erected on his bus by the trade union activists.

Raj Mohan, the owner of the ‘Vettikulangara’ bus that operates on the Kottayam-Thiruvarppu route, was manhandled by Thiruvarpu panchayat member KR Ajay when the former tried to remove the flags hoisted in front of the bus in protest against the non-implementation of a wage hike.

Though the bus owner increased the salary of the workers, the dispute was over the bonus to be given if a certain amount of collection is received.

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The CITU claimed it only questioned Raj Mohan for destroying the union flags and that it was not against the resumption of the bus service.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) staged a protest against the incident before the Kumarakom police station but withdrew it after the cops took the accused Ajay into custody.

The visuals of the incident became viral and a matter of discussion on social media as they reminded one of the Malayalam movie ‘Varavelpu’, a super hit satire released in 1986, where the protagonist, who was a bus owner, had to face the wrath of CPM-led trade union leaders. The lead role was enacted by Mohanlal, who played the role of the bus owner, and was directed by Sathyan Anthikkad.

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Last week, CITU erected protest flags and banners in front of Raj Mohan’s bus for not implementing the revised pay scale. In response, Raj Mohan, an ex-serviceman, put up a lottery sale, in front of the parked bus, as a mark of protest.

Meanwhile, he approached the high court and got a verdict in his favour to resume the services of his bus. However, CITU-CPM leaders challenged the decision and allegedly stopped the bus from resuming its services on Saturday. CPM leader Ajay, who is alleged to have attacked the bus owner, was taken into custody.

“I showed the court order copy to the CPM and CITU leaders who were assembled near my bus. They threatened me. Then I approached the Kottayam ASP and requested that he solve the matter. He spoke to the Local police, who called me and said that I could resume the bus service,” Raj Mohan said.

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“I requested them to remove the posters, to which they said they were not authorised to do so. When I came and started removing them, a person called KR Ajay charged me and assaulted me. The cop who intervened was also attacked,” he recalled of the horror.

“This is the situation of people who decide to start a firm or a business in this state. I am dedicating this torn shirt to all those educated people who have lost their earnings after they started a business in this state. This is the real situation in this state,” Raj Mohan added.

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