The general animosity between the cadres of the BJP/RSS and the ruling CPM in Kerala, intensified by the ongoing protests around the subject of entry of menstruating women into the Sabarimala temple, has spiralled into familiar violence in Kannur yet again.
The northern Kerala district, over the last two days, saw orchestrated attacks on houses of leaders of both parties, creating major law and order problems for the state police.
Late Friday night, at around 9:50 pm, crude bombs were thrown by unidentified assailants at the home of CPM’s Thalassery MLA AN Shamseer, police said. A case was registered at the New Mahe Police Station under Sections 3 and 5 of the Explosive Substances Act and an investigation is underway, a police official said. The CPM leader was not present at his home when the incident occurred.
To prevent the violence from escalating, the state DGP Lokanath Behra has stepped up security especially in Kannur, Kozhikode districts where the recent shutdown invoked by the Sabarimala Karma Samithi, an RSS-backed outfit, had led to a series of violence and subsequent arrests. Till Friday evening, a total of 1718 people were arrested across the state for their involvement in the shutdown and an additional 1,009 people were taken into preventive custody. A total of 1,018 police cases have been registered. The ‘Operation Broken Window’ of the state police, to find those behind the violence, has been stepped up to bring peace and order in the state, the police chief said.
An official at the Thalassery police station confirmed three similar attacks Friday night at the homes of influential political leaders in their station jurisdiction. Former CPM district secretary P Sasi’s home near the district court was attacked with crude bombs around 11 pm. the window-panes of the house shattered in the incident. The CPM leader’s wife and son were present at the time. Around 11:30 pm, the Thalassery ancestral home of BJP Rajya Sabha MP V Muraleedharan was hit with crude bombs in what is being seen as a retaliatory attack. Thalassery BJP Mandalam president Sumesh’s house was also bombed. The house of RSS leader Chandrasekharan was also targeted with country-made bombs. Cases have not yet been registered in each of these incidents, the official said.
The complaints do not mention any specific persons behind the violence, police said, but it’s generally understood that the hands of workers of either parties or criminal gangs affiliated to them are behind the attack. Retaliatory attacks are a familiar occurrence in Kannur, which has become infamous in the last three decades for the string of political murders between the Left and Right groups. Thalassery, which falls on the southern coastal border of Kannur district, is known to be a stronghold of the ruling CPM but has in recent times, developed certain pockets falling under the sway of the RSS.
The attacks signify a new direction in Kannur district, with simmering tension over the Sabarimala row turning into violence between the two parties. The BJP/RSS and the Sabarimala outfits pleading allegiance to them marks Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan as a ‘traitor’ and a ‘modern-day Aurangzeb’ who’s out to ‘destroy Hindu traditions’ by forcibly making young women enter Sabarimala. On the other hand, the chief minister and leaders of the ruling CPM have repeatedly cited the September 28 verdict of the Supreme Court that has paved the way for the entry of women of all ages. Further, the Left has sought to project the BJP/RSS as extreme reactionary forces who are orchestrating violence and disturbing the social fabric of Kerala.