Political Prisoners

Shyna: ‘Kerala Police, Government Made Me a Maoist’

ShynanewCOIMBATORE: Uprooted and displaced because of police harassment, P A Shyna, wife of Maoist leader Roopesh, wrote a letter to the then Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthananthan in 2008 about how the repressive State mechanism and constant police harassment forced her to join the Maoist movement. In the email, which Express has access to, Shyna explained how she had to suddenly leave home one night, in order to escape arrest. She emotively recalls how she did not realise that she would never again sleep in the same house with her children. “My children had to leave behind their much-awaited first jackfruit and uniforms. We fled the place leaving behind all those whom we loved. That evening we learned that police had raided my house for a laptop which I did not have.” “I then went underground after ensuring safe passage for my kids to their grandparent’s house. I learned that police had raided my house without a warrant. I read in dailies that charges by the National Security Agency and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act would be slapped on me and my family,” she says in the mail.
Before going underground, Shyna was a clerk with the Kerala High Court. She says in her letter that because she expressed solidarity with labourers, and often was on the frontline with union leaders, be it protesting with labourers in the Cochin Economic Zone, or with tribal communities, her allowances and promotions were always denied to her by the government. She narrates how the police began harassing her soon afterwards and how, during a visit with a fact finding team to the Viyyur Central Prison, to visit Govindan Kutty, the editor of a leftist magazine, ‘People’s March’, police had tried to arrest her, claiming that she had tried to visit Kutty with a fake name.
However, the claims of the police were disproved through a press conferences called by Shyna and a student from Jawaharlal Nehru University, whose alias Shyna was accused of using to get into the prison. Two days later, she claims that police accused four visitors, who were holding press meets across Kerala over the violence at Nandigram, of being Maoists, and accused Shyna of harbouring them. “The Nandigram activists were manhandled by police. Cops undressed the activists while in lockup at the police station in Kalamaserry. My kids were forced to spend a night in jail,” she says. “We were forced to call a press conference after our release to prove that we were neither terrorists nor Maoists who had come for secret meetings.” While being treated for bronchitis, Shyna learned that she was to be arrested in connection with shielding Malla Raja Reddy and his wife. “I was told that if I do not flee with my children at the earliest, my fate will be no better than that of Govindan Kutty.”
“I have realised that my strong appreciation of the communist ideology made my government job highly insecure. I realised that the government machinery would hunt us down if we start asking the right questions. I understand that for a person who thinks and acts politically, there is no other way than to rebel. Your police and government have made me a Maoist,” Shyna signs off.



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