Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Kannur: Tread with Caution, CPM on Prowl here

Kannur located in north kerala is famous for its folklore such as theyyam, kathakali and also for its martial arts called kalaripayattu. It is also (in) famous for Political Murders which started way back in 1950's. In last 15 days, 07 Persons have lost their lives due to political violence between the CPI-M and RSS. The latest bout was triggered when CPM activists  "free after Kottayam Congress" attacked RSS  Karyavahak, K V Sumesh.

In Kannur, The most heroic leaders live on walls, as faded, framed memories of martyrdom.  It all started way back in 1958.  In 1958, the Mangalore Ganesh Beedi factory shifted to Mangalore (from Kerala) due to labour problems created by the Communist unions. Innumerable workers including Communists - lost their jobs. RSS played an active role then in rehabilitating these workers by securing alternate employment for them. Consequently, many Communists joined the RSS.  The RSS struggle against the imposition of Emergency also provided impetus to RSS Growth in kannur. There were only 17 or 18 shakhas in Thalassery Taluk of Kannur district. Post-Emergency, the number crossed 55.

CPM responded by attacking Political Opponents.. The initial fights were between the CPM and the Socialist Party led by former minister P R Kurup. Then CPM vs Congress, CPM vs Muslim League and now CPM vs RSS. Vadikkal Ramakrishnan, a swayamsevak, was the first victim in 1968 . In 1979 a college student, Panunda Chandran, was murdered inside a RSS shakha. Since then, Kannur has been limping from murder to murder. Unconfirmed reports put the number of deaths due to political violence at 177 - 63 in BJP-RSS camp, 62 CPM cadres, 40 Congress workers and 12 others.

The worst was in 1981, when RSS and CPM workers spent two weeks engaged in a bloodbath that claimed 24 people: 12 RSS workers and 12 from the CPM. Most gruesome of all was the murder of  Jayakrishnan, a teacher of mathematics at Primary School, vice-president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha. He was axed to death inside the classroom, in front of his terror-stricken students, on December 1, 1999. In the case of  Jayakrishnan Teacher, A local court sentenced five CPM men to death, the Kerala High court upheld it. The Supreme Court, which let four of them off for want of evidence on appeal later, observed:

“The police investigation, for whatever reason, had not been conducted properly. The slipshod manner in which the investigation was carried out was amply borne out from the records. Despite the fact that a teacher in the classroom before the students of tender age had brutally been murdered, the police did not appear to have shown a very keen interest in the matter. It was expected that the teachers (in the school) would speak out the truth, but they did not.”

The killing fields were more or less calm during the Last  five years of the Congress-led United Democratic Front government. The previous government had brought an end to the madness by giving the police the power to deal with the perpetrators of violence. The police ended the annihilation spree by acting tough against the leaders, who ordered the killings for their political gains. The political hit gangs seem to have returned with a vengeance with the CPM-led government coming back to power.The LDF government replaced all the  upright officers with pliable ones, who allowed CPM activists to interfere with the law and order functions.  Kannur range Inspector General of Police A. Hemachandran and Superintendent of Police Mathew Polycarp were  among the victims. Jail Director General of Police (Prisons) M.G.A Raman was shunted out after he insisted on shifting the prisoners affiliated to the CPM from Kannur jail to Viyyur central prison following violence inside the jail. The Kannur  jail, which used to be CPM fortress barely a few months ago. The LDF Govt lumped together the  “comrade convicts” and they were virtually running the prison themselves, assaulting fellow prisoners of other parties and enjoying the good life.

Last year,  National Crime Records Bureau says Kannur has logged the country’s highest number of riot cases in 2006 — 737 cases, averaging more than a couple every day

The state government says it will do its best to put and end to the killings, but it’s a well known fact that unless the CPI-M and the state government allows the police to act independently, Kannur will remain to be Kerala's killing fields. Well this might be "distant dream" considering the fact that it was the current Chief Minister who had famously thundered during 1999 Mayhem

“attackers would be repaid with interest and compound interest”.

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