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Friday, June 9, 2023

How the CPM created a Muslim martyr out of UK Kunjiraman who was killed in a toddy shop brawl

UK Kunjiraman, a local communist leader based out of  Thalassery in Kannur was stabbed to death during a toddy shop brawl many decades back. Communist leaders including Pinarayi Vijayan twisted the killing of Kunjiramam into martyrdom. The narrative was that he died defending a mosque and his Muslim brothers in Kerala.  

This false portrayal continued for many years until Congress leader and former MLA PT Thomas, who passed away recently, proved that the whole story was just another communist lie. As soon as Thomas illustrated the same on the floor of the assembly, the ruling front members were up on their feet and shouting. But since then this false narrative has no longer been used by the communists. 

A communal riot instigated by CPM, and death of UK Kunjiraman

Throughout history, Kannur has remained the backward region of Kerala. Communists made sure that it stayed that way and it continues even today. Extreme poverty, backwardness, feudalism and social splintering among Hindus helped the communists to penetrate the region pretty easily. 

Though there is a huge Muslim presence, Thiyya Hindus dominate. They form the backbone of the Marxist movement especially in places like Thalassery. Most Communist leaders including ex-CM EK Nayanar, ex-MP AK Gopalan, KPR Gopalan, Pinarayi Vijayan and Kodiyeri Balakrishnan are from this area.

Most Hindus were engaged in beedi manufacturing and they were paid a pittance by the business lobby led by the Koyas, influential Muslim traders. Others were not allowed entry to uplift the conditions of the poor Hindus. This uneasy co-existence between the two took a violent turn on the 21st of April 1969, when the Marxists murdered an RSS activist, Vadikkal Ramakrishnan.

The first accused in that murder was none other than P. Vijayan of Pinarayi, a village on the outskirts of Thalassery Municipality. He was the leader of the Kerala State Youth Federation, the predecessor of today’s Democratic Youth Federation of India(DYFI), the youth wing of the CPM. Citing technical grounds and lacking concrete evidence, Vijayan and his accomplices were acquitted. This was not before the court clearly pointed out the failure on the part of the prosecution in proving the case ‘conclusively’. He is the chief minister of Kerala, today.

Rumors were spread that slippers were thrown from the first floor of the Noorjahan hotel in Thalassery at a religious procession taken by Hindus to the famous Melott Bhagwan Muthappan Madappura temple. As news spread, clashes began in earnest. The CPM sided with the Islamists and accused the RSS of targeting Muslims and their mosques and the clashes escalated. 

Curiously, teams of communists were formed even before the riots began allegedly under the leadership of Pinarayi Vijayan, to ‘resist’ RSS ‘attacks.’ This is the 50th year of the riot that lasted from December 28, 1971 till the 31st. 4,000 clashes were reported that left 140 dead and hundreds were maimed.

The exact cause of the violence is often attributed to the authoritarian stance of the communists, who would not allow the opponents to function. This has been partly accepted by a large section of independent intellectuals.

Interestingly, the Communist Party of India (CPI) was ruling the state at the time with the support of both the Indian Union Muslim League and the Congress. K Karunakaran, the Congress leader was the then Kerala Home Minister and current CM Vijayan was the MLA from Kuthuparamba in Kannur. Karunakaran appointed a commission led by Justice Joseph Vithayathil to inquire into the Thalassery riots, on February 14, 1972.

The Vithayathil Commission observed the ‘Jeep Jatha’ led by senior CPM leader AK Gopalan triggered panic among Muslims. More than 30 mosques were attacked, most of them were situated in CPI(M) strongholds where RSS/Jana Sangh had no presence. But the Communists continued their propaganda lies that the RSS/BJP were responsible for the riots. 

The Commission found that the CPM armed propaganda parade led by Gopalan against the (Muslim) League at this time helped polarize the state. Both CPI and the Muslim leaders had deposed before the Commission about CPM’s direct role in the riot. The CPI even came up with a notice detailing the complicity of the CPM in the riot. The report clearly exposed Vijayan’s role in the Thalassery riot. 

The report noted the number of the cases and the names of the accused in the riot and as expected, the majority of the accused were CPM workers. CPM declined to depose or provide any evidence before the Commission since the party had boycotted the inquiry. It would have clashed with their false propaganda.

Major incidents of violence took place in the CPM-dominated areas. The mosque at Parapram in Pinarayi (a CPM stronghold), was destroyed in three days. Justice Vithayathil Commission found out that no shoes were lobbed from the Noorjahan Hotel. Such an incident never took place! This sent those Muslim leaders who had sided with the CPM scurrying into reputation-saving mode. 

Thomas based his charges against the CPM based on the Vithayathil report. He said that the CPM’s repeated assertion that RSS activists had killed U.K. Kunjiraman for shielding mosques in Thalassery was a sheer myth that was intended to woo minority voters. 

Thomas said Kunjiraman was killed several days after the rioting stopped on December 31, 1971. His death never even figured in the 526 cases registered in connection with the communal riots. He added that Kunjiraman scuffled with someone in a local toddy shop and was stabbed to death.

The CPM wanted to stop the depletion of comrades from their red bastion – the CPM controlled 90 percent of the local bodies in Kannur. Half the RSS martyrs were former communists or were from known communist families. It showed that the Muslim rescuer card was just a ploy to gain more Muslim members by demonizing RSS and projecting CPM as the ‘secular’ defender of Muslims.

The false myth that UK Kunjiraman was killed while ‘protecting a mosque’ in Meruvambhai near Koothuparamba during the riots, lay shattered.

After every round of violence, the Marxists blatantly lie that they were attacked because they protect the Muslims. 

How the riots were quelled in no time

Karunakaran soon learned that the situation was getting out of hand, and searched for the smartest police personnel under him to end the violence. The administration zeroed in on a junior IPS officer who was the Kottayam ASP. He was none other than Ajit Kumar Doval, a Kerala Cadre IPS officer from the 1968 batch. 

Ajit Doval with just 3 years of experience took charge of Thalassery from January 2 to June 9, 1972. He ended the violence and things were back to normal, all in a week’s time. His priority was to retrieve the properties looted by the rioters and he succeeded in bringing the looters before society.

People started returning to their homes. In June he joined the central service and the rest is history. He now works as the National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of Bharat, with the precedence equivalent to a Cabinet Minister.

Kannur today

Political killings and the need for the communists to maintain their political base meant that potential investors have kept well away from this economically backward area. In most ‘party villages,’ women into their late thirties remain unmarried because outsiders are afraid to enter. Existing industries have shut down, except the beedi ones. What’s more worrying is that the Kannur model is spreading to other areas of the state.

Devoid of any ideology worth its name the CPM is sinking fast into the mess that it has created on its own. Even though leftist intellectuals even now work overtime to keep the party alive, they are doing so only to serve their own narrow and vested interests. Kannur might well be the last place on earth where they are democratically elected.

Like all Semitic religious ideologies, defection amongst communists is an unpardonable sin punishable with death. In political circles, the leftist leaders are masters when it comes to peddling lies. This leaves the RSS cadre in Kerala, at grave risk.

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