A day after a CPM leader in Kerala said that the party has a history of murdering its political rivals and would continue to do so,if required,top CPI leader A B Bardhan on Sunday asked the CPM leadership to clarify and take action where needed. On the defensive,the CPM did a damage control exercise. General secretary Prakash Karat condemned the remarks and said the party is contemplating appropriate action.
If the statement is true and it has been made,then it is very shocking. I will request the CPM leadership to clarify and take action where needed, Bardhan said,adding that he wants the CPM to explain whether the incident recounted by the partys state committee member and Idukki district secretary M M Mani had actually taken place.
While asserting that the CPM in Kerala has a habit of killing and getting killed,and threatening that those who work against the party would be eliminated,Mani on Saturday recalled such an incident wherein the party had prepared a list of 13 persons to be killed in Idukki in 1982 after a CPM worker was killed. The first person on the list was shot dead. The second was stabbed to death,and the third was beaten to death, he had said.
Mani is said to have referred to the killing of three local Congress leaders: Baby Anchery was shot dead in November 1982; Mullanchira Mathai was beaten to death in January 1983; and Muttukad Nanappan was hacked to death in June 1983.
Whether it is a fact,whether these things took place and is there any basis to it all these need to be clarified, Bardhan said.
Kerala Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said the state government would initiate legal action since the conspiracy behind the murders has been exposed. Manis revelations were worth registering a case for criminal conspiracy,he said.
A red-faced CPM central leadership has sought a report from the state unit on the matter. When asked about the statement,Karat said,Whether it is the national or state leadership,we totally disapprove of his remarks. It is condemnable. We will see what appropriate action can be taken. Asked whether the party was mulling disciplinary action against Mani,he said,We will have to discuss it.
Manis statement comes at a time when several local CPM activists have been arrested in connection with the murder of rebel leader T P Chandrasekharan.
Party state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan said Mani had deviated from the party stand and it was wrong on his part to talk in this manner. Vijayan told the media that the party is under attack from rivals,and at this stage,unwarranted comments of comrades would serve weapon for the partys enemies. At the same time,he did not contest Manis claims. Instead he said,The party has workers who are willing to shed blood for it. That is the trait of the CPM. The party has gone ahead with the energy drawn from the death of every comrade.
Leader of Opposition V S Achuthanandan said that there was a bid to depict the party as killers organisation,and what Mani had said was against facts and the public would reject it.
Interestingly,the CPMs website carries a speech delivered by Karat in Kerala 10 days ago in the context of Chandrasekharans murder: We do not believe in using weapons to kill political opponents and those who disagree with us. Our greatest weapon is Marxist ideology and the politics of the working class.
(With ENS Thiruvananthapuram)