Fears of pre-poll violence escalation in Marxist killing fields of Kerala

published on May 30, 2010

Fears of pre-poll escalation in Kannur violence
VR Jayaraj | Kannur -Daily Pioneer

The people of Kannur, which is known as the Marxist killing fields of Kerala, are worried that the murder of two local BJP leaders at New Mahe on Friday allegedly by a CPI(M) killer squad could be the start of a new phase of violence, particularly in the context of the local bodies elections to be held in September.

Party-neutral people of areas like Panur, Koothuparambu and Thalassery, which had seen hundreds of political killings in the past four decades, say that the breakout of murderous violence from the side of the CPI(M) after about 13 months of relative peace, could be part of a Marxist strategy to terrorize people ahead of the panchayath elections. The last political murder – before Friday’s incident – that Kannur saw was on April 27, 2009 when BJP worker AV Sajith fell victim to the bloodlust of a CPI(M) death squad.

Kannur district and adjacent Mahe observed a hartal on Saturday, called by the BJP, to protest against the murder of Vijith and Sinoj, BJP leaders of Palloor, on Friday morning. The dawn-to-dusk hartal was largely peaceful barring some isolated incidents of minor violence. According to reports, a five-member Marxist death squad had brutally killed the duo, while they were traveling on a motorbike, in a planned attack with bombs and swords.

The police registered cases against 15 persons and took into custody two CPI(M) workers in connection with the murders. The two were taken into custody by raiding the CPI(M)’s local committee office at North Chokli, Kannur. The police said that intense search was on for the others involved in the violence but BJP-RSS leaders refused to take the assurance at face value.

Sources in the police said that Friday’s murders had all the signs of an “operation” by a Marxist death squad, trained for carrying out disgustingly cruel campaigns of violence. People at Kallayi Chunkom, New Mahe, where the two were killed, indicated that the gang of masked men had first hurled bombs at the duo and then dragged them to a nearby shop to hack them to death.

BJP-RSS leaders said they did not expect the police to take the investigation into Friday’s murders to its just and logical conclusion judging from the way the CPI(M)-led State Government had been shuffling and re-shuffling the police officials in the district ever since the LDF came to power four years ago. They accused the CPI(M) of using governmental power to attack its opponents.

CPI(M)’s politics of terror in Kannur had started way back in 1969 when RSS worker and tailor Vadikkal Ramakrishnan of Thalassery was killed. The next to fall victim to the daggers of Marxist terror was Panunda Chandran on September 2, 1978. Since then, hundreds of lives have been lost in the violent incidents in the district.

Ordinary people of Kannur say the CPI(M) might step up its campaign of violence in the coming days. “The Marxists have lost a lot of ground in Kannur district (which has traditionally been known as a communist stronghold) since the last Assembly election. They know that it is difficult to regain its foothold in time for the Panchayath election. They have always adopted violent attitudes at such times,” said a retired police official.

Indira Devi , a housewife of Koothuparambu, said she was worried about the new violence just when the schools were to reopen on Tuesday. “Compared to previous years, last year was somewhat peaceful here. Our kids could attend school without worries. But the new school year is set to open with blood on the streets. I don’t know how many school days the children will lose,” said Indira, mother of two children.

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