By Parth Gupta
Kerala, India’s most advanced state on numerous parameters of Human Development Index, is in the headlines once again due to the fallout between the Left and the Right. Months after being declared the most well-governed state, the law and order situation in Kerala is in troubled waters yet again because of acts of “political violence”. The cycle of violence has rather been a culture in the Kannur district of Kerala—the lawless district is known for its polarised politics and has been the biggest witness of political clashes.
A history of violence
The chaos caused by political brutality in Kerala isn’t new. The fight kicked off in the northern district of Kannur in the late 1940s when a gathering of RSS leaders and workers, who were trying to establish their base in the state, were allegedly attacked by some communist forces. The urge to take revenge eventually converted a single incident into a national issue that we see today. Adding to that, the ‘honour’ of revenge killing is now deep-seated in the minds of party workers. But the newest round of clashes could be the results of shots by the Sangh Parivar to intensify their standing in the district and the CPM’s efforts to counter it.
Earlier this year, on March 2nd, RSS “Mahanagar Prachar Pramukh” of Ujjain Kundan Chandrawat publicised a reward of Rs 1 crore to the person who would behead Kerala CM P. Vijayan. The RSS distanced itself from Kundan’s remarks, but projected it as ‘emotional comments’. Hours after this statement, four RSS workers were injured after someone (allegedly CPI-M workers) hurled a crude bomb at the RSS office in Kallachi.
The latest incident—BJP versus the CPI-M
The state capital, Thiruvananthapuram witnessed the latest case of violence. It was reported on July 29th when E. Rajesh, a 34-year-old RSS activist, was found dead on his way back home after being a part of an RSS unit meeting. He was stormed by a group of men and he later died in a private hospital. According to the state unit of BJP, the “Karyavahak” (Rajesh) endured heavy injuries on his face, hands and legs, and his left palm was also severed and thrown away.
State BJP President Kummanen Rajasekheran held the CPI-M led government the sole responsibility bearer for this horrific act. He further added that in response to the mute state government of Kerala, the BJP was left with no other option but to call for a state-wide shutdown on Sunday.
Opposing ideologies fosters violence
One of the reasons why violence is growing in Kerala is the fact two opposing parties and ideologies (the Left and the Right) that have had clashes all over the history are now the ruling parties—one at the Centre and the other in the state. In Thiruvananthapuram, BJP won its first seat in the state legislature in the 2016 elections after a six-decade struggle. The Left sees the hand of the Centre in the recent growth of Sangh in the state capital. The RSS-BJP duo in the state is already calling for invoking Article 356 of the Constitution to impose President’s rule citing the breakdown of the administrative machinery.
The units of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) have been engaged in political murders in a very unreasonable manner. But over 16 years till 2016, the number of party workers massacred from both sides in the northern Kerala district of Kannur has been roughly equal: 31 from the RSS and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and 30 from the CPM, according to police data obtained through an RTI request. Unfortunately, with Kannur, several other districts are becoming hotspots of political rampage involving the right and the left.
Is there a way out?
RSS and CPM aren’t just organisations anymore, but separate forces. Amid increasing instances of political violence in the state, the CPI-M government has decided to convene an all-party meeting to find a solution. The first such meeting will be held on August 6th in the state capital.
It is the responsibility of the state to protect its people regardless their political affiliation. Better and effective policing is unavoidable at this point and vigilantes should be crushed as and when identified. It should not become an incentive to gain political advantage. CPI-M had to fight hard last year to get back the CM’s chair and it should go for all remedial measures before it is too late.
Featured Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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