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P C Punnen
P C Punnen
In My View

Changes till now fine but ---

P.C. Punnen

Kerala has changed a lot. Keralites to say the least who lived in abject poverty, and who used to boast of nothing but their willingness to work hard, moved to cities within the country and later the Gulf. To begin with, in1966 a large number of them occupied what could be called ‘high posts’ in typical Malayali terms. They shed their faith in oft quoted religious ideas and moved to new places. Tomorrow to fresh woods and pastures new became their dream. Sorry to say comparable to the Syrian Christians’ dream for more land and everyone knows the methods they used to grab land in Idukki district. Malayalis who lived in poverty got a chance to live like, what ordinary Malayalis call a high life.

I have been a silent witness to all that happened. Kerala has changed beyond description. The schools and colleges we studied in have changed. Their teaching is different, the courses are different and the dresses of students who study and people who teach have changed. Their income too has changed. Their general attitude has also changed. The change was inevitable, and shocking to many. But the process is on and will continue till we all are dead. It will continue further.

I must say that the goings-on in Kerala are strange, unheard of and cruel. Not a day passes without murder most offensive ---- a kind which we have never heard of. Look at the following startling incidents.

In Thodupuzha, a 7 year old was murdered by his father. Two Thodupuzha criminals are under the Kudumbashree counselling to clear their minds of suffering from delusions.

A three year old boy who was under treatment at a Christian hospital in Ernakulam was reported dead today. He was under treatment for severe injuries. He was declared brain dead. The cause of the injury was his mother’s cruel beating. She has been arrested. The police have decided to file a murder case against her. Her husband who works for the Metro Railways, in his statement to the police, had said the same thing as his wife. He is also under police investigation regarding his background. Earlier the murder case was not registered against her. They are from Jharkhand. This is not the first case where criminals from other states have been arrested. This shows Kerala police is sincere in investigation of criminal cases whoever the suspects are. In other Indian states such a thing may not have happened so soon.

In the Kevin P. Joseph murder case registered in Kottayam a year back, the court has observed Kevin's murder is a case of honour killing. He was murdered allegedly by his wife's family. This 23 year old mechanic was found floating in a river in Kollam district. It happened 2 days after his marriage was registered. Hours after the marriage was registered, Kevin was abducted from his residence in Kottayam. A day after, his body was found floating. His wife's brother is the prime suspect in the murder. He has been arrested on charges of murder and conspiracy. There are twelve others against whom cases have been registered in this incident.

These are recent developments which breed communal hatred and hunt for money. Some are psychic, some because of inebriation due to alcohol and few due to drug addiction. Something unheard of in Kerala, mostly reported in cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. These incidents do not create much worry in ordinary men; they consider it as a crime that is to be treated as a murder of a goonda or political vendetta.

It is high time Keralites woke up to the issue that these murders generate. For not only are they something unheard of in Kerala; they are against our culture, which we are not stopping to boast off. If we don't wake up we will be no better than Delhi or Uttar Pradesh where goons rule the roost, similar to Mumbai.

What is shocking is that in Kerala kids are vulnerable to abuse in over 11 lakh families, according to a survey. The survey was conducted by a committee constituted in the name of Shafeeq, a 10 year old assaulted by his parents in Idukki six years ago. The report has revealed that kids in 11 lakh families are vulnerable to abuse and torture. Such abuses occur mainly in families of step parents, singe parents, with history of domestic violence , alcoholic parents, parents/siblings having criminal background as well as those economically backward.

This is alarming. The state government has to step in and deal with this deadly problem by taking social and legal measures. Law enforcing agencies need to constitute a section in police to deal with such cases. Also there is a need to establish centres to provide help to those suffering from psychic problems. The public needs to be made aware of the problem so that neighbours can report to the nearby police station so that steps to deal with such families can be initiated early.

Let Kerala not descend to this level. If it does, it will be a catastrophe of the worst sort.

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(The ideas and views expressed are those of the author.)