Leaders’ surrender reveals cracks in CPM citadels

published on June 24, 2012

The surrender in court of three senior Kerala CPI(M) leaders last week in two separate cases of brutal murder of political adversaries reveals that the people in the party-controlled villages of Kannur, Kasaragod and Kozhikode districts are not willing to provide shelter to partymen involved in criminal cases any more, according to CPI(M)-watchers.

This also shows that the Marxist leaders in these districts, whose words used to be respected like royal decree till recently, have begun to lose command over the people in these villages. “The three leaders wouldn’t have surrendered if they haven’t lost control over the party villages,” said Sankarankutty, a former CPI(M) activist from the party village, Valayam in Kozhikode district.

PK Kunhananthan, member of CPI(M)’s Panur area committee in Kannur and 23rd accused in the case of the May 4 murder of Marxist rebel TP Chandrasekharan, had surrendered before the First Class Judicial Magistrate Court in Vadakara, Kozhikode on Saturday after spending several weeks in hiding in the party villages of Kannur district.

On Friday, CPI(M)’s Kannur district secretariat member Karayi Rajan and Thiruvangad local committee secretary Karayi Chandrasekharan, conspirators behind the murder of NDF activist Muhammad Fazal in Thalassery back in 2006, surrendered before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Kochi. They too had spent over a month underground in party villages.

CPI(M) sympathizers from party villages, who used to refuse even to talk to people from outside for fear of resultant repressive measures from party leaders, now say that these three leaders were forced to surrender after pressure from the investigating agencies intensified and villagers started turning reluctant to play host to them.

“The police had conducted unsuccessful raids in several neighbouring party villages during their search for Kunhananthan. They wouldn’t have dared to undertake such a task till some months ago. That the police got access to these villages itself meant that cracks have appeared in these party citadels,” said a villager from Panur, Kannur working in Kochi.

He also pointed out that Karayi Rajan and Karayi Chandrasekharan also were forced to surrender due to the same reason. “The CPI(M)’s Kannur leadership had categorically stated that it would not let the CBI (probing the Fazal murder) lay its hands on the duo on the assumed certainty that the party villages were impregnable. But they now know that the situation has changed,” he said.

Kannur, Kozhikode and Kasaragod districts have scores of such party villages where “even a fly won’t dare to move” (according to villagers) without the permission of the CPI(M) leadership. These villages were considered as liberated areas of the communists or “some kind of sovereign republics” (according to a former party theorist) where Marxist rules reigned supreme.

CPI(M)-watchers are of the opinion that the party leaders are now reluctant to use the repressive methods with which they used to control these villages because recent experiences have showed them that such actions could lead to massive rebellion from the villagers’ side as it had happened in Onchiyam, Kozhikode.

It was such a revolt to the autocratic rule of the CPI(M) that led to the departure of hundreds of Marxist party villagers under the leadership of TP Chandrasekharan in Onchiyam and the formation of a new outfit, the Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) and his subsequent murder, planned and executed allegedly by the Marxists.

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