The police and military intelligence have stepped up their search for unknown assailants a day after they allegedly attacked an Indian Army soldier at Chanappara near Kadakkal in Kerala’s Kollam district, tying his hands and painting the letters “PFI” on his back with green colour.
According to Kaddakkal Station House Officer (SHO) PS Rajesh, the incident occurred at an isolated location within the station’s limits around 11 pm on Sunday, 24 September.
An FIR under Sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), and 341 (wrongful restraint) of the IPC was lodged on Monday against six persons involved in the crime, said the police.
The injured jawan has been identified as Shine Kumar, who serves in the Rajasthan Electronics and Mechanical (EME) unit of the Indian Army.
As per the complaint received by the police on Sunday, the six assailants summoned the soldier outside his home at night and took him to an isolated area, where they attacked him and painted “PFI” in green on his back.
Rajesh said there was no direct witness to the incident, and failed to provide any clues to help trace the attackers. However, a large-scale combing operation by the police has been initiated.
In his complaint, Shine Kumar said he was attacked by the group inside a rubber plantation adjacent to his house in Kadakkal.
After Shine reported the incident to the military camp at Pangode in Thiruvananthapuram, military intelligence personnel joined the investigation.
“There is no laxity in the investigation. We received the complaint very late, and there were no witnesses to the incident. After recording the jawan’s statement, we expedited the investigation,” SHO Rajesh told South First over the phone.
“We are dealing with the case with utmost seriousness, as the letters ‘PFI’ indicate the possibility of supporters of the banned outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) being involved in it,” noted the SHO.
“The jawan is also confused as to why the PFI was targeting him. All angles have to be verified,” he added.
The political fallout
The issue became a sensation by Monday afternoon when visuals shared on social media showed the letters “PFI” painted on the soldier’s back.
Sangh Parivar organisations interpreted that the “PFI” stood for the proscribed Islamist outfit Popular Front of India, which is under the scanner of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
Sangh Parivar-affiliated organisations also started blaming the ruling LDF and the Opposition UDF in Kerala for allegedly helping the banned outfit grow and execute their plans to target Hindus.
Meanwhile, BJP national secretary and spokesperson Anil Antony lashed out at the CPI(M) in Kerala and the Congress at the national level.
“A serving jawan was assaulted, his hands tied up, and PFI was paint written on his back by anti social miscreants in Kollam , Kerala yesterday. Saddened and shocked that even our armed forces personnel who we owe much for their bravery and sacrifices find no safety in Kerala. Kerala under the dot dot INDI alliance core partner @CPIMKerala is becoming a dangerous radical Islamist hotspot – with their other national ally @INCIndia led by @RahulGandhi a mute spectator. Not one known leader from either of the two parties have raised their voice because it might offend certain sections and communities of the society. And they now joined hands to bring this brand of politics to the center stage [sic],” wrote Antony on the social media platform X.
A serving jawan was assaulted , his hands tied up , and PFI was paint written on his back by anti social miscreants in Kollam , Kerala yesterday. Saddened and shocked that even our armed forces personnel who we owe much for their bravery and sacrifices find no safety in Kerala.… https://t.co/1kjFGkDtj3
— Anil K Antony (@anilkantony) September 25, 2023