KV Biju, national coordinator of the Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh, one of groups under the umbrella of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha that has been leading the farmer protests on the borders of the national capital, was among two people thrashed late night on March 30, 2021, while out pasting posters urging voters in Kerala to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party candidates in assembly elections on April 6.

“We had formed four teams of people to paste these posters as part of the campaign of farmers to urge people to desist from voting for the BJP. My friend and I were at Vanchiyoor, putting up the posters when two men came up behind us and questioned us about the source of our funds. We were still trying to respond when more people gathered and started beating us. I fell, and someone stamped on my back. Fortunately for me, one of the RSS workers was an acquaintance and he asked the others to back off, and then took us to hospital. If it were not for that one person, I may not have been alive,” Biju said from his hospital bed in Thiruvananthapuram.

In early March 2021, Samyukta Kisan Morcha announced that it would conduct a campaign against the BJP in all states where assembly elections are to be held. In Kerala, a yatra across the state is also currently ongoing as part of this programme. Article 19 of the Constitution protects that right to peaceful protests. KV Biju is a veteran at leading peaceful protests, and was at the forefront of the fight against the Coca Cola bottling plant at Plachimada 20 years ago, that left local communities deprived of water. His campaigning also means occasional contributions in the press, where he comments on agriculture policy.

“I was not able to walk immediately after the attack. We were taken to an allopathic hospital initially, and I have now moved to an Ayurveda hospital in the state capital. I feel I’m getting better now and will soon return to work,” Biju said. He noted that the goons snatched his mobile phone and went through its contents, and he has received the phone back with the data stored on it missing.

At the local police station in Vanchiyoor, the policeman who answered the call from this reporter said personnel is busy with election-related duties and any information can only be sought now by journalists visiting the police station in person.

Rosamma Thomas is an independent journalist


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