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Marxists send a brutal message to dissidents

Author: V R Jayaraj
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: May 11, 2012
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/item/51587-marxists-send-a-brutal-message-to-dissidents.html

Savage and fatal attacks on dissenters suggest that the Pinarayi Vijayan faction of the CPI(M) in Kerala can go to any extent to silence criticism

When TP Chandrasekharan of Onchiyam, a village in Kerala’s Kozhikode district that had contributed ten martyrs to the communist movement back in 1948, and his supporters left the CPI(M) protesting against its neo-liberalist leadership’s “right-wing decadence” and formed the Revolutionary Marxist Party in 2008, State party secretary Pinarayi Vijayan had termed them as kulamkuthikal (traitors of family). There is only one punishment for traitors of the family: Death. Chandrasekharan was hacked to death on the night of May 4 in his own village which his RMP had made its fortress and where the CPI(M) had no place at all. It was one of the most heinous attacks Kerala’s murderous politics had ever seen: He was hacked 51 times in the head and face.

In a statement that reiterated his conviction that ‘family traitors’ deserved no honour even in death, Mr Vijayan in his Press conference held just 14 hours after the murder, said, “It is not my job to analyse his greatness (as a communist).” Three days later he announced: “Traitors will always remain traitors.”

The cruelty demonstrated in the murder of Chandrasekharan was not all that unparalleled in the history of murderous politics followed by the Kerala Marxists. Most of the hundreds of murders the party has committed in Kannur, the hell-hole of Marxist violence in ‘God’s own country’, have been brutal in one way or the other. On May 25, 1996, then Kannur district secretary of BJP, Pannyannur Chandran, was killed in front of his wife.

On December 1, 1999, KT Jayakrishnan, then vice-president of the Kerala Yuva Morcha and a primary school teacher, was hacked to death in front of his students inside his classroom. Several of those kids in that classroom, whose books and dresses were splattered with the blood and shreds of flesh of their beloved teacher, would tell you that they are yet to recover from that shock.

However, Chandrasekharan’s murder was different in many ways. It was standard and routine practice for the Marxists to offer denial of involvement each time a Sangh Parivar member was killed in Kannur. That was so because they had been convinced that such killings would not affect their political strength. But Mr Vijayan had to call a Press conference just 13 hours after the killing of Chandrasekharan because the deceased leader could cause irreparable damages to the CPI(M) — even in death as he had done when alive. If his war against the CPI(M) was limited to Onchiyam when he was alive, his death was powerful enough to extend that war to other regions, and the Marxists knew it.

Mr Vijayan’s senior colleague, Mr VS Achuthanandan, described him as a “brave communist”. The former Chief Minister was the only senior CPI(M) leader to visit Chandrasekharan’s home to pay tributes to him. The fact is that the martyr’s men and kin would not have allowed any other Marxist to enter their village. The resolve was so pronounced that the first public words of Rama, his wife, after the incident were: “They could kill him. But they cannot kill his movement.”

The ripples the murder set off are not to subside soon as far as the CPI(M) is concerned. Its lesser allies in the Opposition LDF, especially the CPI, are seeing this as a moment to redefine intra-Front relationships. The message is that they are not prepared to tolerate the hegemonic attitude of the big brother anymore. The CPI, which has never aired its opinion in any of the scores of Marxist murders in Kannur, has a specific stand on this brutality. State CPI secretary Pannyan Raveendran demanded a probe into the allegation of involvement of the CPI(M).

That the murder of Chandrasekharan was an act of political blunder — like the LTTE had admitted long after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi — as far as the CPI(M) is concerned would be proven soon. With a leadership line that is frequently accused of corruption, abetment of crony capitalism, defending moral turpitude of top bosses, right-wing decadence and all such ills, the Kerala CPI(M) can no more claim the self-righteousness it has been known for so far. The internal contradictions are coming out in the form of political hypocrisy. In its ideological documents, the party speaks of the need for democratisation and Indianisation, but in its core it continues with its ever-solidifying Stalinist authoritarianism.

This was the context which forced the rebels to gather courage to constitute the RMP in Onchiyam, the People’s Development Council in Shoranur, Palakkad and the Leftist Coordination Committee at the State level. This was the context which emboldened former Marxist MP, AP Abdullakutty to join the Congress in a place like Kannur back in 2009, and R Selvaraj of Thiruvanantha- puram to resign as CPI(M)’s Assembly member on March 9 and contest the by-poll as a Congress candidate. Examples are many. There are rumours that Chandrasekharan’s murder was in fact a warning to certain young MLAs of the CPI(M) who were allegedly planning to follow Mr Selvaraj’s example.

Onchiyam, with its history of fervent communist activity which culminated in the contribution of 10 ‘martyrs’ to the movement in 1948 to the materialist party, was part of its soul, just as Punnapra and Vayalar are known for their historic peasant uprisings. Chandrasekharan and his pack of ‘traitors’ effectively tore a huge piece off that soul when they formed the RMP in 2008 and gathered such popularity in the area that the CPI(M) became almost non-existent there.

On Tuesday, the CPI(M) sent LDF MLAs in Kozhikode district to the Onchiyam region to atone for its sin of not sending any senior leader to Chandrasekharan’s house after the murder, but the dead leader’s relatives and supporters saw it as an act of further humiliation. They warned them against visiting his home.

The RMP has become such a big force in Onchiyam, perhaps the strongest fortress of the CPI(M) in all of Kerala till four years back, that it could have asked the MLAs not to set their foot anywhere in the region. This was exactly how several villages of West Bengal became off-limits to the party that ruled that State for over three decades. If the leaders of the Kerala CPI(M) do not want a repeat of that experience in their State, they will have to undertake some serious thinking.
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