Tearful adieu to Basheer, run over by ‘drunk’ IAS officer’s car

Thiruvananthapuram: The funeral of K M Basheer, a journalist working for a Malayalam daily was held at his home town at Vatakara in Kozhikode.

Basheer, 35, bureau chief of the “Siraj” newspaper, was killed on Saturday (August 3) after being hit by a speeding car driven by an IAS officer in Thiruvananthapuram.

The accident occurred when the Basheer, was returning home on his two-wheeler at around 12.45 am when the car knocked him down in the high-security zone area of the state capital. He died on the spot.

Tearful Adieu

Soon after the mortal remains was brought to the city’s Press Club,  journalist fraternity and people from various walks of life paid a tearful adieu to Basheer.

After hearing the news of Basheer’s death, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who had also expressed his condolences on social media.

Later, the mortal remains were taken to his home town.

A Dedicated Person

Basheer was a popular face among the media and social circle for over 12 years. According to his friends and colleagues, he was a dedicated person who was always alert and ready to work for society.


The arrest of IAS officer

The police arrested Venkitaraman, Who is a Medical doctor and Fullbright Fellow from a private hospital, where he was undergoing treatment for minor injuries received during the accident and has been sent to 14-days judicial custody in connection with the accident.

The police have registered a case under Section 279 (for reckless driving) and 304 (for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code.

A second rank holder in the 2014 Civil Service exam, Venkitaraman had hit headlines in 2017 for his anti-encroachment drive in Munnar hill station.

The CPI(M) leadership had expressed strong displeasure over his act and was later transferred. Presently, he is serving as director of survey department.

Foul Play & Lapses From Police 

Former Superintendent of Police George Joseph said there was a foul play.

“The police should have immediately taken them into custody and should have gone for a medical checkup. This delay is nothing but a way to save the senior officer,” said Joseph.

The Thiruvananthapuram unit of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) has asked Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to see that the police should ensure a proper and truthful investigation and justice to the victim.

The journalist fraternity had alleged that there were lapses from the police during the probe. The fraternity also claimed that the police did not conduct Sriram’s blood test.

No CCTVs Working

The road on which the accident took place is often used by VVIPs, including the Chief Minister and the Governor.

Surprisingly, many CCTV cameras not working in the area were on which the accident took place.

A witness to the accident said the car was at a high speed when it hit the bike. The driver was under the influence of alcohol and a lady was with him, the eyewitness added.

Protection of Journalists 

The Kerala CM stated that his government will consider measures to ensure greater risk protection of journalists in the workplace.

“There is an insurance scheme for journalists. We will expand and restructure it in order to ensure that the family is safe enough to cope with complex situations. The government will take urgent measures to address these issues,” Vijayan said in a Facebook post hours after Basheer’s death.

Basheer, Vijayan said, was a regular face at Thiruvananthapuram Press Club, adding that the journalist’s death caused much grief.

“When I saw his face for the last time, I felt like a family member has left us,” he said in his post.

“No compromise of any kind will be allowed and we will do everything possible to bring to justice to those responsible for Basheer’s death,” Vijayan said.

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