Red fortress Kannur is most violent Kerala district

via VR Jayaraj | Kochi-Daily Pioneer published on June 22, 2009

Kannur, the Marxist fortress of Kerala, recorded the highest number of murders and explosives-related cases in the State in the five years starting 2004, statistics available with the State Public Information Department. The northern Kerala district is infamous for the recurring incidents of murderous political violence, almost all of which have the Marxists on one side.

As per the documents released by the Public Information officer to a lawyer in central Kerala earlier this month, the number of incidents and cases had risen by each passing year since 2004 in Kannur. Despite the heavy police presence in almost all the sensitive places in Kannur round the year, the number of persons arrested in such incidents is far less that those roaming free.

As per the documents, close to 1,600 persons accused in cases of murder, explosives and violence against the police are yet to be caught. Almost all these accused are remaining free just because of the protective cover provided to them by their political bosses. The police in the State are ruled by Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, who is a junior Politburo member of the CPI(M), belongs to Thalassery, the most politically volatile area in Kannur district.

More than 700 persons have lost lives in incidents of political violence in Kannur district in the past four decades but the document given to the lawyer shows that such heavy losses have not helped in bringing down the number of murders here. In fact, the records for the past five years show a trend of increase in the number of murders.

While the police reported 15 murders in Kannur in 2004, the number had risen to 20 in the last year. Year 2005 saw 17 murders while 13 killings were reported in 2006. The lowest number of murders was seen in 2007 with 11 reported incidents while the number of killings recorded in the first five months of the current year was six. One accused in a murder of 2004, ten in the cases of 2008 and two in the 2009 cases were yet to be taken into custody.

The records show that Kannur, to where a large number of senior CPI(M) leaders, including its State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and central committee members PK Sreemathy and EP Jayarajan belonged, had witnessed 7,502 incidents of violence in the past five years: An average of 1,500 per year or four incidents per day.

Year 2004 saw 1,123 incidents of violence while the numbers for 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 were respectively 1163, 1412, 1647 and 1517. In the first five months of the current year, Kannur saw 540 incidents of violence. As many as 1,529 persons accused in these incidents were yet to be arrested.

Kannur has always been (in)famous for the frequent seizures of explosives like country, steel and pipe bombs and the number of cases registered in relation to explosives in the five years was 249. While the number of such cases registered in 2004 was a mere 29, this had grown to 94 in 2008. So far in this year, 20 such cases had already been registered.

As many as 15 accused persons were yet to be arrested in the cases relating to 1,513 incidents of political violence and 124 attacks against commercial establishment during the period in discussion. Thirty-three persons, accused in the cases of 72 attacks against the police, were still roaming free. Top officials in the Police Department admitted that most of the accused were still free due to interferences by political parties enjoying governmental support.

Kerala had reported the highest crime rate in the country in 2006 with 312.3 percent as far as crimes under IPC were concerned when the national average stood at 167.7 percent. In the very next year, Kerala had found a place among the top five states in crime rate standing at 319.1 while the national average was 175.1 percent.

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