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Saturday, June 10, 2023

Political violence in Kerala threatens to spiral out of control, while CPIM cadres are caught making bombs

In recent times, fortune has not been kind to communists in Kerala. First there was the gold smuggling scam, reaching up to the highest echelons of power, which was followed by the drug-scandal in which names of many leaders of CPIM emerged. Now the political violence in the state has diverted the focus from both these big issues. Indeed, violence has been the cornerstone of communist politics since the days of Lenin and Stalin, who would be happy to see communists of Kerala to be their true followers in every sense.

The week started off badly for the CPIM with the Party State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s son Bineesh Kodiyeri’s role being revealed in a drug-running case. His accomplices were arrested from Bangalore with possession of illegal drugs, meant for sale. More arrests continue and the members of Kerala and Karnataka movie industry have been found involved, with some now behind bars. 

Ideally, in such a case, the responsible leaders would resign from public life till their names get cleared. Unfortunately, that is not how politics is done these days, in Kerala more so. Political violence on a large scale has erupted in Kerala in recent days. That would make national news had it been any other state. However, the din about violence in state media succeeded in diverting the attention from the other deeds of CPIM leaders.

Murders of political activists

On the 30th of August, Vembayam Thevalakkad unit joint secretary Mithilaj (30), of Safiul Nizam Manzil in Thevalakkad, and DYFI Perumala Kalunkinmukham unit secretary Haque Mohammad (24), of Bismi Manzil in Kalunkinmukham, were murdered while another worker Shaheen escaped with injuries at Venjaramoodu on the outskirts of Trivandrum. DYFI is the youth front of CPIM.

CPIM top leaders including Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, Cabinet Ministers Kadakampilly Surendran and E P Jayarajan immediately blamed the Congress linked Youth Congress for attacking the deceased with sharp weapons. They also accused the INC sitting MP, Adoor Prakash of hatching the conspiracy which led to the murder. Prakash dismissed the allegations and challenged the state police to prove it. Nine accused have been arrested so far in the case.

Contradictory explanations

CCTV footage of the incident clearly shows that both the deceased and the accused are attacking each other with sword-like weapons. The CPM district secretary Anavoor Nagappan admitted the same and added that they might have carried weapons for self-defense. The DYFI state secretary A A Rahim later denied the fact that they were even carrying weapons.

Shaheen who was with the deceased when the incident happened, first informed the police. Rahim had visited the police station while Shaheen was there. On being asked the purpose, he termed the visit to the police station normal procedure after a colleague’s tragic death. However, the fact is that the dead bodies were not in the police station! Thus visit when the police were recording Shaheen’s statement has drawn suspicions. It is alleged that Rahim tutored Shaheen’s confession in the presence of police and that the whole incident might actually be related to factional war within CPIM. 

There are also allegations that the deceased themselves have multiple cases registered against them. The leader of the opposition INC, Ramesh Chennithala said that Mithilaj had multiple narcotics cases registered against his name and added that the arrested were SDPI members

Mithilaj’s brother Nizam has denied the accusations. He also gave a statement that just a couple of sword yielding attackers could not have defeated Mithilaj, which implies that he was probably a hardened criminal. 

The immediate aftermath

Almost immediately after the murders came to light, large scale violence started in the state. INC offices all over the state started getting attacked. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s silence and the allegations made by his ministers encouraged the DYFI cadre to run riot. This also points to the blessings of the CPIM leaders to those responsible for the whole situation. 

It is reported that within two days 140 congress offices have been vandalized and some destroyed. This raises a bigger question of what the local police were doing? The fact that Pinarayi himself handles the Home Ministry added to the allegations that police remained mute spectators on his orders. 

Bomb factory by CPIM workers in Kannur

Thalassery in Kannur district, the home town of both Pinarayi and Kodiyeri was back in the news once again. Yesterday four CPIM members were in for a surprise when one of the bombs that they were assembling, exploded. Three of them were seriously injured with one losing both his hands in the explosion and another had his eyes blown out. A dozen unexploded bombs packed in steel containers were recovered by the police from the spot.

It didn’t come as a surprise to many that the injured were old criminals who were long time associates of CPIM. Aswanth is the second accused in the attempted murder of the COT Naseer case and Raneesh the accused number 26 in the infamous TP Chandrashekhar murder case. Both Naseer and Chandrashekhar were rebel workers of the CPIM who had gone their own ways once they realized that what their party promises is not what it actually delivers. They had then stood for elections as rebel candidates. Naturally, there were murder attempts on both and  they succeeded in case of Chandrashekhar.

Explanations and Contradictions

As usual, the CPIM promptly denied that the accused in the bomb-making incident were their party members. MV Jayarajan, an ex-private secretary to the CM and current Kannur District Secretary of the CPM said that those injured were not CPIM workers and that CPIM had no hand in the bomb-making. 

political violence in kerala

Interestingly in all the above-mentioned cases, one common denominator was the name of AN Shamseer. Although there was reportedly ample evidence of Shamseer’s involvement in many criminal cases, he still roams free and is actually the sitting MLA from Thalassery. He even appears on national television as a spokesperson of the CPIM. Contrary to what Jayarajan had to say, Shamseer was seen visiting the injured at a hospital in Thalassery.

Allegedly there are plans being orchestrated for large scale political violence throughout the state. Under the present circumstances, it can be safely said that expecting justice and fair investigation from Kerala police would be a folly. Considering the situation in the state, the center should take efforts to stop the violence, which threatens to spiral out of control in near future. It must be remembered that once CPIM is finished dealing with INC, the next in line will be the BJP-RSS cadre, its most resolute enemies in Kerala.

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