CPM ‘inventing’ martyrs to win its war against CPI

published on October 1, 2012

The Kerala CPI(M), facing a huge credibility crisis due to its alleged involvement in several political killings and an outflow of workers and supporters into the CPI in this context, is now being accused of declaring independent persons who were killed in dubious circumstances as martyrs.

In such a development, the CPI(M) will observe Tuesday as martyrdom day at Anthikkad, a village near Thrissur, in memory of Changarankandath Subramanian, who was killed 42 years ago. The CPI(M) says Subramanian was a party activist and was murdered by CPI men but his relatives and neighbours say he had never been a Marxist and that his murder was not political.

“Subramanian had never gone for party works,” said his brother, adding “He used to go to school and help our father in his work but he was not a partyman.” Subramanian’s murder had no political connections, according to relatives and neighbours. However, the CPI(M) claims that he was an active Marxist and was killed by the CPI which says he was a Congressman.

The martyr’s day observance at Anthikkad, a stronghold of the CPI, on Tuesday would be held under the local committee of the CPI(M) and would start with floral tributes at the Kadavaram martyrs’ hall in the village. Local residents expressed surprise at the CPI(M) move to observe martyrdom day for Subramanian after doing nothing of the kind for the past 41 years.

“Everyone here knows that Subramanian’s murder had nothing to do with politics. It is for the same reason that the CPI(M), which has strong roots here, has never made any claims in this regard so far. Who, then, is the inventor of this idea that he was a Marxist and why do they “celebrate” his death anniversary after 41 years?” asked Gopinathan, a resident of Anthikkad.

“The “inventor” is none other than CPI(M)’s State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, who said at a party programme in August that the CPI, which was now calling the Marxists as a party of murderers, was responsible for the killing of several CPI(M) men and Subramanian was one among them.

Pinarayi had made this claim when the CPI(M) was facing the charge of annihilating its political adversaries after the arrest of several prominent leaders, including its Kannur district secretary P Jayarajan, in the cases pertaining to the killing of Marxist rebel TP Chandrasekharan of Onchiyam, Kozhikode and Muslim league activist Abdul Shukoor of Pattuvam, Kannur.

Pinarayi turned against the CPI, the second largest partner in the CPI(M)-led LDF, after it took a position that the Marxists should not expect its support in issues like political killings and violence over leaders’ arrests in murder cases. State CPI secretary had even gone to the extent of saying, “The CPI is a party with its own individuality.”

This bold position of the CPI had attracted to it many ordinary CPI(M) workers and supporters who had been disillusioned with the organization. This led to a massive outflow of CPI(M) men into the CPI, especially in the coastal belt, and the first eight months of the year saw the CPI constituting 36 new branch committees in southern and central Kerala.

It was in this context that Pinarayi argued that the CPI could not pretend to be a party of pious men and that it had a history of killing CPI(M) men. It is a fact that 23 activists had been killed in Kerala in the CPI(M)-CPI wars between 1968 and 1989 but observers say that the “invented” martyrdom of Subramanian is not going to do the Marxists any good.

“To me this “martyr’s day” seems to be a matter of Pinarayi’s ego,” said a senior journalist. “The CPI(M) is not going to gain anything except a lot of humiliation for the party’s Anthikkad local committee,” he said.

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