Winds of dissent blowing across Kerala’s CPM villages

published on May 14, 2012

“Not even a fly will move here without the party’s permission” is how people used to describe the CPI(M)’s total dominance over the dozens of “party villages” in Kannur and Kozhikode districts till recently.

But winds of dissent are now blowing through these impregnable fortresses of Marxist authority in the context of the recent murders of party “enemies”.

Protests against the authoritarian rule of the bosses of the party in Kannur, known as Kerala’s headquarters of the murderous Marxist politics, has always been there in these villages but the people were scared of even thinking about airing it publicly so far, thanks to the kind of brutality the party’s killer gangs have been showing to “betrayers”.

However, the May 4 murder of rebel leader TP Chandrasekharan in Onchiyam in Kozhikode district, one of the oldest liberated areas of the party, has changed the situation. The compound walls in many of the party villages now bear the signs of an explosion of this hitherto-suppressed dissent in the form of posters filled with disgust and rage towards the party bosses.

For the past ten days, the leadership, which used to “teach a lesson” to anybody showing dissent instantaneously, has been witnessing the traditional communists from these liberated villages visiting the home of murdered rebel Chandrasekharan even after State CPI(M) secretary Pinarayi Vijayan repeatedly termed him as Kulamkuthi (betrayer of the communist family).

A huge majority of the grassroots comrades in these villages have already warned their autocratic party bosses that they would leave the party and even join the Revolutionary Marxist Party – RMP, floated by Chandrasekharan and his supporters in 2008 after leaving the CPI(M) – at the first solid indication of the party’s involvement in his brutal murder.

“We have been suffering under this yoke the party has put on our shoulders for long,” said Gopalan (name changed) of Valayam, a “liberated” Marxist zone in Kozhikode district. “You can’t even think of airing the slightest dissent. The reward could be physical assault, excommunication or even worse. Nobody wants to put up with it anymore,” he said.

Posters and banners describing Pinarayi Vijayan as “aristocrat” and “Dange-ist” have appeared in several party villages in Kozhikode district like Valayam, Paleri, Changaroth, Meppayur and Kaiveli. The leadership, shaken by the development, is now taking refuge in the unconvincing explanation that these are handiworks of those who were trying to destroy the Left.

The first voices of dissent in the party villages had started to come out in Kannur district, the Marxist heartland of God’s own Country, almost three months back after the brutal killing of 20-year-old Muslim League activist Abdul Shukoor of Pattuvam on February 20.

Marxist executioners had allegedly hacked Shukoor to death after a “summary trial” by the party court in Keezhara village, a “liberated” area in Kannur, for pelting stones at the vehicle of district CPI(M) secretary P Jayarajan and party MLA TV Rajesh. The trial and the execution were carried out in an open field in front of scores of villagers.

Middle-level leaders who do not want to share the sin of their top bosses are now saying that the dissent seen in the “liberated” villages is akin to that witnessed in rural West Bengal two years back which ultimately led to the party’s electoral devastation there last year and its inability to hold branch, local and area level conferences in preparation for its 20th national congress.

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