Kerala Model – Gruesome Murders and Atrocities
Gruesome murders and other atrocities are a reality in the Kerala Political landscape. The so-called God’s own country is second only to West Bengal, that too only maybe, in terms of political violence. Do keep in mind that Bengal used to witness a political murder every four hours as admitted by the then CM, comrade Bhattacharya in the floor of the house. Now, the situation there is even worse, just that the villains changed and comrades are paying comeuppance. So much for all the hype being spread around portraying Kerala as some sort of paradise created out of blood and sweat by the Communists and their so-called “secular” brethren. Communal disturbances, blatant casteism, meddling in political affairs by the clergy, moral policing, and an economy sinking n debt – list of sins is way too long. The state has a very vulnerable and rotten underbelly beneath all that gloss about high literacy rate and HDI parameters touching the outer rim of EU countries.
Kerala Model – Where every party is equally bloody
Every single political party in Kerala indulges in violence as part of their politics. In fact, the gory tradition of gruesome murders has come to become a cornerstone of Kerala Model. The difference is that some do it for survival faced with an onslaught while some others are determined to muzzle all differing voices. The main protagonist in the violence is, of course, the usual suspect- CPM (I). Inarguably the biggest political force in the state, CPM boasts of highly motivated, hardened cadres who are willing to kill and die for the party, all in the name of the revolution. For them, the slogans of “democracy, liberty, freedom of expression, the right to dissent etc. are only for rhetoric in the TV studios and maybe in the states where their strength is almost nil. CPM is the common factor in almost all sagas of political violence in the state. Only the opponents change, like BJP/RSS, Congress, Muslim League, etc. Even CPI, an ally in the Left Democratic Front, and an ideological fellow traveler is not safe from the marauding storm troopers maintained by the party, even leading to public pleas from the CPI leadership. They don’t even spare the fellow comrades who raise a voice of dissent over ideological differences on the Party’s stand.
Kerala Model – The most prefered model of the Communists
The Communists also have a penchant for gruesome, brutal murders- A case in point being the grisly slaughter of Jayachandran master, a BJP leader, and a school teacher, in front of his young students in the left citadel of Kannur. A more recent incident of barbarity was the brutal murder of a rebel communist leader, T P Chandrashekharan in Onchium in North Kerala. He was waylaid using bombs and slaughtered using swords and axes. There were 51 slash wounds on his body!! This incident provoked condemnation across the state- even CPM allies in the LDF and even a faction within the CPM seeking answers from the leadership. The mindset of top leadership was exposed when Pinaray Vijayan, a PB member and the then head of the Kerala CPM made highly derogatory references against TP at a time the whole state was mourning his death. Another explosive recent incident was the public trial and horrendous murder of a young man, Abdul Shukoor, an Indian Union Muslim League activist over the charges that he pelted stones at the vehicle of the CPM district secretary.
Kerala Model – Kannur should be a good example
North Kerala, especially Kannur is the hotbed of political violence in Kerala. What sets North Kerala apart is the entrenched communist movement and the history of bloodshed in their many struggles, the martial culture, and history of blood feuds where the highly skilled warrior class called Chekavars were roped in to settle disputes. Communist base in this part of the state is largely based on their good work in the past for the benefit of the weaker sections. We can find many who stay loyal to the party flag despite being frustrated by the rot that has set in of late. It is just like gullible Indians still having a soft corner for the Congress despite its many sins. The North Kerala, especially Kannur is the only place even the Congress party stand up and fight the physical violence unleashed by the CPM in the same token in contrary to its usual style of deceit. In the eighties and nineties, Congress workers in Kannur used to be terrorized by communist goons. But, with the rise of one K Sudhakaran, considered to be a bahubali politician with a mass base, Congress started paying back CPM in the same coin and interestingly political violence targeting the Congress took a dip in fear of violent reprisals. It is often said that he is the only Congressman CPM fears in the entire state.
Kerala Model: RSS Vs CPM
The most violent political struggle in Kerala, of course, is between the RSS and CPM- their animosity dating back to the 70s.
The number of men killed in Kannur and suburbs like Telechery and Panoor in each morbid episode used to look like football scores.
Endless cycles of violence often engulfed the district as both parties will go to any extent to avenge attacks on their colleagues. While CPM initiates violence in almost every instance, RSS never really holds back in retaliation. Being a cadre based outfit with strong discipline, RSS is competent enough to pay back CPM whenever it found itself under attack and this contributed to the mayhem. The denizens were the collateral damage as they get caught in the crossfire. Students had to go under police escort to give their exams, the arsenal of country bombs and other lethal weapons became commonplace in the interior villages as every political party from CPM and BJP to League and Congress stockpiled weapons in their strongholds.
Kerala Model: The CPM Leaders lead the army from the front
What sets CPM apart in this is that their leadership is often directly involved in planning and executing murders. CPM leaders often try to play victim and claim that they are only retaliating to attacks by “fascist” forces- a charge that won’t stand up against scrutiny as all available data shows up the CPM as the primary aggressor. They even take recourse to historical justification by clamoring about how “Communists were hunted down by the imperialists in the aftermath of independence”. For the other outfits, more often than not it is the local cadres or at best local leaders who are complicit. This can be verified by having a look at the number of prominent leaders charged in political murders. The current Kannur district secretary, P Jayarajan is facing the heat in multiple murder cases, many prominent leaders including district committee members are also charged/jailed in many recent cases. Another district secretary, K M Mani of Idukki was caught giving a searing speech about killing many who had stood against the party. In fact, many in the state leadership of the party have had grievous charges slapped against them at some point or the other. Even veteran comrade VS Achutanandan, the former CM and arguably the most popular communist alive, exhorted in a party meeting that CPM has no plan of using Gandhian non-violence against RSS aggression- a justification and rallying war cry for the foot soldiers to indulge in violence.
One’s perception of who is the aggressor in the sordid tales of political violence in Kerala might differ according to one’s political and ideological leanings, but the stark truth is that no political organization can wash their hands of the appalling state of affairs. While the hard data might corner the communists as the principal aggressors, the other organizations are also guilty of retaliating in kind, or even initiating the violence in a few instances. What the political leadership forgets in their vile quest for power is that their abominable means are wrecking havoc with the entire society.Families are torn apart, youth is lured into the trappings of ideology and get caught in a quagmire of endless violence, children are left scarred for life bearing witness to unspeakable atrocities. It is time things change for the good. But, it will require the political parties across the spectrum to give a solemn, binding commitment to give up violence as a legitimate means of politics. And, the coming assembly elections give a suitable moment of catharsis, provided they are serious about peace.