Red terror or saffron shock in Kerala?

The roots of the ongoing violence go back to the 1960s in Kannur, when the major industry at that time was beedi -- most factory owners were RSS sympathizers, while most workers were organized by Communists under trade unions. The Pro-RSS employers brought RSS activists from Mangalore in Karnataka where had been successful in suppressing labour unrest.This led to constant confrontations between the two groups.

Written by M.B. Rajesh | Updated: August 8, 2017 7:17 am
Kerala violence, kerala political violence, RSS, CPI (M), Sangh parivaar, RSS-CPI (M) clash, Arun jaitley, All of a sudden incidents political killings have become a hot topic in TV channels and national newspapers. (Representational photo)

In this era of post truth it is the attractively packaged lies and marketed aggressively as truth that prevail. I believe that the Sangh Parivar has mastered well this technique of propaganda. Their lie factories work overtime to distort facts. Even Parliament has not been spared. One BJP MP speaking on the floor of the House recently accused the CPI(M) of “Taliban methods” and said party workers chopped off the hands of a professor.

The truth, of course, is completely different. This barbaric act was carried out by an Islamic extremist organization called NDF and the culprits have been sentenced by the court. As for the ongoing campaign aimed at tarnishing Kerala, this again is a classic case of effectively employing Goebbelsian tactics in this era of information and communication technologies.

All of a sudden incidents political killings have become a hot topic in TV channels and national newspapers. Of course, political killings must be condemned in the strongest possible words. But this condemnation cannot be selective. What is obvious here is the meticulously planned and executed media onslaught against the CPI(M) and the deliberate obfuscation adopted to obscure the Left’s side of the story.

Only one or two TV channels had the honesty to say that according to crime data from 2000-2017, 86 CPI(M) workers were killed in political violence compared to 65 RSS workers. In Kannur, the current epicenter of the violence, both CPI(M) and RSS have lost 43 workers each over the last 25 years. The pro-corporate media’s inability to publish this unchallenged data is clearly because it will destroy the current narrative of “Communist terror” and “RSS as victims”.

I am quoting these figures not to justify the political murders but to unmask the truth about it. In fact, one must ask why the RSS has a right to kill CPI(M) cadres? Why were there no headlines and prime-time discussions when 86 CPI(M) workers were killed? Why were Sangh leaders silent when two teenage RSS workers -Ananthu of Alappuzha and Nirmal of Thrissur — were killed by their own goons? Why did visiting finance minister Arun Jaitley and other leaders not visit the homes of these RSS workers?

The roots of the ongoing violence go back to the 1960s in Kannur, when the major industry at that time was beedi — most factory owners were RSS sympathizers, while most workers were organized by Communists under trade unions. The Pro-RSS employers brought RSS activists from Mangalore in Karnataka where had been successful in suppressing labour unrest.This led to constant confrontations between the two groups. Events took a serious turn with the  1971 Thalassery communal riots spearheaded by RSS. The CPIM was in the forefront to mobilize people against the riot and successfully resisted RSS moves to attack places of worship and people belonging to minority communities.

Even the judicial commission, led by Justice Vithayathil, which probed the riots appreciated the commendable role played by CPI(M). Current Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan earned his spurs by resisting the RSS at the time. Since then Thalassery and Kannur have never seen communal riots. But the RSS didn’t give up and has continued targeting CPI(M) and its leaders, turning Kannur into a communal battle-field.

The Communist movement in Kannur has a glorious history of anti-colonial struggle against the British, peasant struggle against feudal landlordism and anti-caste struggles against caste hierarchy. This is behind the CPI(M)’s solid mass base in Kerala. It must be noted that even in the latest Assembly elections, CPI(M) has maintained a vote share of more than 50 cent, a fact which shows that the electorate has rejected the lie about ‘red terror’ repeatedly made by the Sangh Parivar.

The recent cycle of violence too was also triggered by the RSS by the killing CPI(M) activist Raveendran, during a victory procession in the chief minister’s constituency within hours of the Left Democratic Front government coming to power. Two more CPIM activists were killed by RSS soon after. It is true that this repeated provocations led to some unfortunate retaliatory incidents which the party has strongly condemned. We have taken strong actions against some of our workers who have been involved in violence. In fact, can the RSS and BJP cite a single such action by them against their workers involved in violence?

Much worse, RSS workers have killed two of their teenaged colleagues and their names were missing in the list of those killed read out by BJP MPs in parliament. Why this selective outrage? Instead of taking any action against these criminals for killing their workers, all protection including legal assistance has been extended to them. This hypocrisy has to be exposed.

The latest incident in Trivandrum has nothing to do with political rivalry. It is a case of goondaism, which was later politicized by RSS. Police records show that two weeks before this incident, On July 7, there was a scuffle between two gangs and the police registered two FIRs. The murder on July 29 was a continuation of this ongoing rivalry. The RSS/BJP jumped in and politicized this incident. They were badly looking for something which could divert attention from the multi-crore corruption charges faced by the top leadership of the BJP in the state and the arrest of their party men for printing fake currency which is an anti-national act.

An internal inquiry report of the BJP has found that many of their state-level functionaries have taken bribes to get the Medical Council of India clear some private medical colleges in the state. The BJP state chief has tried to put these shenanigans under the carpet and the rival BJP faction leaked the entire report to the media. Following this, skeletons started rolling out of their shelves, which included the manifold increases in the assets of some state leaders who are party whole timers, as revealed in their own election affidavits. One prominent leader was arrested for attempted to kidnap a businessman to extort money.

Complaints against BJP leaders range from demanding huge amounts of money from businessemen and manhandling those who refuse to pay, fierce infighting as well as the party’s failure in making any serious inroads – despite outbursts by senior coalition leaders like Vellappally Natesan who has said that he has been let down by the BJP – has seriously demoralized the rank and file. The BJP in this hopeless situation wasted no time to seize the opportunity to politicize the Thiruvananthapuram killing not only to divert attention but also to unite their various factions under the pretext of “red terror”.

The visit on Sunday by senior BJP leader and Cabinet minister Arun Jaitley is part of the RSS/BJP’s political designs to destabilize the LDF government in the state and also weaken the Left. Interestingly, his visit has been helpful to the CPI(M) on two counts. First, contrary to RSS claims of being the victims of the so called “red terror,” the fact is the CPI(M) has lost many more cadres.

A Delhi-based TV journalist who called his story “The killing fields of Kerala” and travelled all the way to cover Jaitely’s visit has tweeted that “what is basically happening is that every murder of an RSS/BJP worker gets amplified in the national media while the CPIM casualties are conveniently played down or plainly ignored”. Even Jaitley has admitted that people belonging to the CPI(M) have been killed.

Jaitley’s visit also took place in the light of the RSS openly demanding imposition of President’s rule in Kerala. An intelligent politician and a legal luminary, Jaitley knows that there is no political, moral, constitutional or legal grounds to justify this RSS demand. He chose to distance himself from endorsing allegations that law and order had utterly failed in the state and, therefore, President’s rule had to be introduced.

Compare, if you like, the law and order situation in Kerala with that of Yogi Adityanath in Uttar Pradesh. A reply tabled in the UP Assembly on July 18 admitted that in the first two months of Yogi Adityanath’s rule, 729 murders, 803 rapes and 2688 kidnappings had taken place in UP.

People have realized the real intentions of the Sangh Parivar, which is to polarize Kerala. It is speculated that the propaganda will intensify in the coming days, with the parading of leaders like Yogi ji.

He is welcome. We would like to welcome him to a state where all major communities, almost equal in numerical strength, still live in peace and harmony. We welcome him to a state where communal and caste violence is unheard of, where farmers hardly commit suicides and where the first Communist party in the world won power, peacefully.

M B Rajesh is the CPI(M) MP from Palakkad in Kerala. He tweets @MBRajeshCPM

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  1. S
    Aug 30, 2017 at 1:55 pm
    When will this moron learn English?
    1. I
      Aug 9, 2017 at 6:09 pm
      In Kerala, huge number of young men, without regular jobs have lot of free time and no money. Hence,for partly sum of money blindly obey their political bosses. The (dis)credit for large-scale unemployment in Kerala goes to CPM and Marxists Trade Unions for their anti-industry, anti-job and "NOOKUCOOLIE" policies. Because of CPM's outdated policies and mindset, more number of Keralites are employed full-time in industries of Gujarat, Maharashtra etc than the whole of Kerala. How many meaningful full time Jobs have been created in Palakkad Cons uency in last 8 years? Number of CPM Votes in Palakkad Cons uency may turn out to be lower than the number of people of Palakkad Cons uency Origin unwillingly migrated(for livelihood) and employed in industries in Gujarat and elsewhere. Having failed to create Jobs in last 70 years, CPM should work hard and create atleast 2 Lakh meaningful full time Jobs in the next 4 years in Palakkad Cons uency by their OWN efforts(Labour) and Capital.
      1. A
        ak dev
        Aug 9, 2017 at 7:58 am
        Commies and naxals are the two faces of the same coin. Both are killing machines and should be treated in the same way.
        1. Deeptanshu Verma
          Aug 9, 2017 at 7:18 am
          Indian Express should really publish the credentials of its columnists at the top of the page. Of course this article makes sense if one is a MP of the CPI(M). There are videos on social media of murderous mobs chanting slogans on the roads that they will kill RSS people - has the author seen them.
          1. P
            Aug 9, 2017 at 5:20 am
            This write up (of course not his language) is completely distortion of facts. He is the leader of appea t politics b ing anything and everything in Hindu society as 'malicious supers ious', hurting the sentiments of Hindu population. There are no takers in Kerala.
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