In Kerala, a Judicial First Class Magistrate Court issued an arrest warrant against AA Rahim, the newly inducted Rajya Sabha communist MP from the Communist Party of India (Marxist). He is accused of harassment, molestation, and holding a lady hostage. The victim is Dr. T. Vijayalakshmi, an associate professor and the HOD of the Department of Tamil at Kerala University, Thiruvananthapuram.
The incident happened on March 30, 2017, and the lady professor still remembers the day as the darkest in her life. A leftist mob led by Rahim, a University syndicate member of Kerala University, rounded up staff and abused and kept them captive for well over three hours inside the university campus. They were demanding money and left after they received the same.
It was all part of a campaign to install leftist-leaning comrades into the university. Unlawful appointments began as soon as the communists came to power in Kerala in 2016, and the phenomenon is not limited to the university alone. Communists, especially the green communists, have infiltrated every administration aspect. Vijayalakshmi refused to be intimidated by the violent tactics that the communists often select.
Vijayalakshmi had the additional charge of the Director of Student Services (DSS). Like other universities, the DSS is also the treasurer of the university union. The DSS is nominated and is in charge of coordinating the youth festival with around 250 colleges associated with the university. They had a budget of about 30 lakhs, collected from the students who joined various courses at the university.
On that fateful day, the university arts festival was going on. Some students attached to the Students Federation of India (SFI) approached the DSS and demanded money to settle bills associated with the youth festival. The SFI is the Communist Party’s student wing and rules almost all the colleges in Kerala. Vijayalakshmi had earlier given 22.50 lakhs in advance to the students and asked them to submit their earlier bills.
She told them that she would release funds when they settled the old accounts (22.5 lakhs). Some students requested that they want to pay the judges and the DSS agreed to sign undertakings that she is responsible for settling their invoices. Kerala university’s liabilities run into the crores accumulated for conducting youth festivals over the years since student leaders failed to account for earlier payments.
Universities hold their respective DSS liable for funds thus released. When Vijayalakshmi took over the position, former DSS members had not been paid their pensions for well over 20 years. Vijayalakshmi had a liability of 22.5 lakhs, and refusing to pay irresponsible student leaders was only natural.
As the chancellor of universities, Governor P Sathasivam had issued strict orders to the DSSs to settle previous bills before making new payments. SFI leaders found the proposition unsuitable, and Vijayalakshmi had to bear the brunt.
Vijayalakshmi is an accomplished academician who brought several changes after taking over as the DSS. Kerala University has a vast student center inside the campus. Urban Naxals used to assemble there, and the place used to be littered with used condoms and liquor bottles. Marxists used it as they wanted, and Vijayalakshmi ended that practice. Since it is public property, she regularized proceedings and began charging fees for the programs being conducted at the center.
SFI leaders resented these moves and wanted to coerce her into resigning. Rahim was not just a syndicate member but was also a research scholar at the same university. ‘Marxist’ Rahim is researching Islamic History on Print Media and the Muslim Renaissance Movements in Kerala!
On March 30, Rahim too was loitering around the youth festival venue when the SFI leaders informed him about the refusal to release funds. He immediately called up his violent gang of DYFI workers, including 40 odd women cadre led by Mutthathara Anju, a CPM ward member. Guided by these women and a few students, the mob gheraoed Vijayalakshmi in her office.
They forced Vijayalakshmi to the Pro-Vice Chancellor’s (PVC) office, and the male SFI leaders too moved in. For three and a half hours, the lady professor and Kerala University staff were pulled by their hair, jabbed with pens, denied even drinking water or the washroom, and endured the choicest abuses. All that the PVC and the others could do was watch from the other side of the table.
Vijayalakshmi alleged that Rahim and his violent mob chased away the police, who came to their rescue. Rahim told the professor that she is just a sepoy who should sign when the SFI leaders ask her. He noted that they would have killed her had she not been a lady. He warned her that she would be decapitated if they found her on the campus again in true Islamist fashion.
SFI leaders herded everyone involved in signing cheques into the PVC’s office. That included the registrar and the finance officer, who signed the cheque. Vijayalakshmi said that the mob abused the finance officer so badly that he resigned from the job and left the university. Several students hit the lady professor on her head before leaving with the cheque.
Vijayalakshmi is also a women empowerment trainer who conducts classes all over Kerala. She went to the police station to register a case, and Kerala police asked her why she was complaining about the ‘minor’ issue and asked her whether it was even worth a police case! Her colleagues asked her to forget about the incident.
The victim registered an online complaint, went to the Kerala Women’s Commission (KWC), and approached the State Police Chief and Director General of Police (DGP), who failed to register the complaint. Vijayalakshmi met the governor and registered a case upon his intervention. Even then, feeble sections were charged, and 11 accused, including Rahim, were granted bail from the police station itself.
After a year, she received a letter from the KWC asking her to appear for a hearing. Their commitment became apparent when the letter reached her after the hearing date. The state, supposed to uphold women’s rights, decided that her case was not worth a complaint or investigation and moved a file to the court.
The professor said that this government response affected her badly, and Vijayalakshmi felt that she was not a citizen of Bharat. What were the compulsions to side with Rahim instead of standing up for the victim?
Vijayalakshmi went ahead and hired an advocate, and the court recorded her statement. Though Rahim and a few others were booked, key conspirators like Anju never appeared on the list of accused, even after five years.
Out of fear, nobody protested, which is why such incidents continue. Rahim, in particular, was harsh and used unparliamentary words in abundance. That is his extra qualification for the MP seat. Leaders who are corrupted by power are not interested in the commoner’s issues. Vijayalakshmi blames Keralites for choosing such leaders.
Headed by Rahim, SFI ousted the PVC later that year using another Marxist favorite, the Dalit card. By March 2018, Vijayalakshmi was relieved of her Student Services duties.
The recent development in the case has come as a welcome relief for the lecturer, who suffered severe mental trauma following the incident at the Kerala University five years ago. Communists continue to hound the victim. Vijayalakshmi is now spending her hard-earned money to fight the legal battle.
The court summoned Rahim on several occasions, but he refused to appear before the court, leading to the issuance of the arrest warrant. Rahim is close with CM Pinarayi Vijayan and his son-in-law PA Mohammad Riyas. It is alleged that even if he does appear in court (at the state’s expense), justice might be hard to come by for the victim.