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RSS worker’s murder shows rising intolerance in Kerala, CPI (M) needs to reply


The state’s ruling party finds itself in a contrarian position, something which is legendary of its relationship with the Left.



There is another kind of intolerance that is brewing in the country – that which is not being described on the front page of our national dailies. That which is being pushed aside as the handiwork of the fringe. That which is not being considered with as much outrage by the media as it should ideally have been.

The murder of 27-year-old Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker Sujith who was hacked to death in front of his aging parents in Kannur district of Kerala, allegedly by CPI(M) workers has gone unnoticed. A murder so gruesome that it puts savagery to shame, a culture that we have been so vehemently opposing, a culture that took the life of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri over suspected beef eating.

Sujith succumbed to his injuries before reaching the hospital. His parents and brother tried in vain to stop the assailants who had stormed into their house at Papinesseri around 11.30pm. Sujith’s parents lay in hospital while their young son paid the price of opposing and confronting an ideology.

This is not an isolated incident from Kannur which is the hub of political activity and clashes between the CPI(M) and RSS. It is a district which has been witness to the worst kind of savagery since the 1980s when Sangh affiliates made inroads into the Left bastion.

In September 2014, a 42-year-old RSS functionary Elanthottathil Manoj was stabbed to death, allededly by CPI(M) workers.

BJP-CPI(M) politics in the district, especially the southern region, including Thalassery, Panur and Koothuparamba has, in the past decades, been more bloody and vicious than in any other state. And with West Bengal and Kerala, both gearing up for polls this year, the fight is all set to get murkier and bloodier by the day.

So while we hail JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar and condemn Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad for comparing the terorrist organisation Islamic State (ISIS) to RSS, the need of the hour is to condemn the bloodthirsty vigilantes of both ideologies.

Both the RSS and the Left have their territories marked in Kerala where it is not the rule of law, but the rule of political power which has cops and the judiciary looking on in silence.

On Monday (March 14), CPI(M) and BJP workers in Kattaikonam and Thiruvananthapuram clashed yet again as 43 were injured with the condition of one of the BJP workers reportedly very serious. The clash between the two groups precedes the announcement of candidates for the assembly polls and political watchers insist that Kerala is all set to get bloodier by the day. The BJP leadership in Kerala declared a dawn-to-dusk hartal in the district to protest the attack which saw skirmishes between the two parties till Tuesday evening.

What has the ruling party of the state been doing then? The Congress-led government seems to have turned a blind eye to the killings and atrocities in the name of ideology, perhaps to deflect cases of corruption against its own leaders. The Congress which has allied with the Left in West Bengal finds itself in a contrarian position, something which is legendary of the relationship between the Left and the Congress.

Congress leaders have lamented in public that the CPI(M) cannot be relied on as it has been in cahoots with the BJP, citing the CPI(M) tradition of supporting the Jan Sangh in late 1970s and later allying with the BJP to support the VP Singh-led government at the Centre in 1989. The CPI(M) has also been accused of covertly helping the BJP in Bihar by opposing the Nitish Kumar-Lalu Prasad Yadav grand alliance (mahagathbandhan) in Bihar and conceding at least ten seats to the BJP in the state.

But political analysis and political rhetoric aside, official figures tell a different story. More than 200 lives have been sacrificed at the altar of the fight for ideological supremacy between the Left and the RSS in Kerala over the last three decades. Witnesses in most cases have been silenced with their limbs chopped off and the families have been left as mute spectators.

Within a day of the brutal murder of Sujith, a crude bomb was reportedly thrown at a seva kendra run by the RSS and the house of a BJP worker in Kannur. All the local police in Kannur has managed is an FIR against unidentified men for the bomb attack.

Such is the the state of lawlessness in Kerala that most culprits go scot-free, free to unleash a fresh round of violence. Sample this: in February 2016, the Kerala High Court, exactly a month before, had acquitted 26 CPI(M) activists who were sentenced to life terms by trial courts in two political murder cases. The reason: witnesses had turned hostile, and prosecution could not prove the direct involvement of the accused.

The mass acquittals were granted by a division bench comprising justices P Bhavadasan and V Raja Vijayaraghavan after considering appeals regarding the death of two people – 70-year-old Ammukutty Amma and a 22-year-old jeep driver Shihab – when CPI(M) workers threw bombs at a jeep carrying people returning from the funeral of a BJP worker.

Senior CPI(M) leaders are also believed to have a hand in politically motivated murders of its own members and rebels, including the 2012 murder of TP Chandrashekharan, a Marxist rebel, who questioned the ideological shift in the party. The police, surprisingly, stopped its investigation in the case after filing a chargesheet against those directly involved in the crime. This is the prevalent lawlessness in Kerala, and our Parliament clearly seems to have no clue.

The Congress, in the state, led by chief minister Oommen Chandy, who himself is allegedly involved in the solar scam in Kerala, is using these incidents to talk of the rampant lawlessness spread by the two organisations just before elections take place in May.

Till then the killings may continue, and this intolerance will run unabated in the Congress Raj in the state. There is no denying that both the CPI(M) and RSS have been involved in many criminal cases and neither can emerge unscathed, but that leads to the question – why are crimes committed by one organisation debated more than the other? This intolerance is really two sides of the same coin.

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