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Janaraksha Yatra in Kerala: CPM fumes as BJP rally intends to project Left as catalyst of terror

The peace forged between the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Bharatiya Janata Party-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh combine in Kerala following a series of political murders has come under strain in the wake of the Janaraksha Yatra launched by the latter against 'Red-Jihadi terror'.

Clashes broke out between cadres of the two in the northern parts of the state before and after the launch of the 450-km long yatra led by party state president Kummanam Rajashekharan. BJP national president Amit Shah flagged off the march at Payyannur in Kannur district on Tuesday.

Buses transporting BJP workers to and from Payyannur were attacked on the borders between Kannur and Kasargod, according to district superintendent of police G Siva Vikram. Party’s Kaliyaserry mandalam secretary Sajeevan was assaulted earlier. The SP told the Firstpost that the timely intervention by police had prevented the situation from escalating.

Incidents of clashes between cadres of the CPM and the BJP were also reported from several places in Kasargod district. Two BJP workers were injured when stones were thrown at the vehicles between Karivellur and Padannakkad. A shop and a bank ATM also came under attack at Karivellur.

Trouble also broke out in Kasargod district ahead of the march. A 20-member gang attacked BJP workers while they were setting up flags and buntings for the yatra at Nileswaram around 9.30 pm on Monday. Three BJP leaders, including Trikaripur mandalam secretary Vijayakumar were injured in the attack.

Yogi Adityanath in Kannur on Wednesday. Image by TK Devasia

Yogi Adityanath in Kannur on Wednesday. Image by TK Devasia

Following the incident, BJP workers blocked the national highway at Padannakkad, disrupting traffic for more than hour. BJP Kasargod district president K Shreekanth led the sit-in. Senior police officers, including the inspector general of police (Kannur Range), rushed to the spot and dispersed the protestors.

BJP leaders said stones were thrown at three buses near the house of P Karunakaran, MP, on the highway. The windshield of a bus was shattered, and the windowpanes of another were damaged. BJP leaders have blamed the CPM for the clashes. Shreekanth alleged that the attacks were carried out with the knowledge of the party leadership. He said that the police were mute spectators when the CPM workers unleashed the violence.

“The police completely failed in their duty to give protection to BJP workers going to attend a function of the president of a national party,” he said adding that the CPM was fuelling violence in a bid disrupt the Janaraksha Yatra.

The party leaders are anxious as several senior leaders will be joining the march as it passes through the sensitive areas of Kannur district, the hot bed of political violence in the state. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath walked alongside party workers from Keecheri to Kannur on Wednesday and Amit Shah from Mambram to Thalaserry on Thursday.

The Kannur district administration is concerned about the security since many places along the route, particularly Pinarayi, had witnessed several brutal murders recently. The Kannur SP termed the situation tense. He said they had deployed additional 1,200 police personnel to maintain the law and order.

He said that the law and order machinery in the district was vigilant as any untoward incident during the march could derail the peace accord that the two sides reached after a lot of efforts. The CPM and the RSS had agreed to drop arms at the meeting convened by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan following the intervention of Govenor P Sathashivam in July this year.

However, political observers fear that the provocative slogans raised by the BJP at the yatra and the speeches by senior leaders could mar the peace. The CPM cadres are angry with the Janrakasha Yatra as it seeks to project Kerala as a land of terror and their party as perpetrator of the terror. The sentiments against the saffron party aggravated after Amit Shah announced a two-week padayatra in all state capitals from Wednesday.

Party leaders said that the BJP propaganda will malign the image of Kerala as well as the CPM in the whole country and will undermine the developmental initiatives of the party-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government.

Party state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan accused the BJP of misguiding the people by presenting one side of the violence. “The BJP is talking about only their casualties. They are ignoring the CPM activists who have lost their lives in the violence,” he said.

The CPM leader alleged that the RSS has slaughtered 205 CPM activists in the state so far. The tally claimed by the BJP is 200. The CPM leader said that over 3,000 party workers were crippled homes of over 10,000 workers were damaged in the attacks carried out by the RSS.

Balakrishnan aid that the party had also lost more than 400 activists in the attacks carried out by the BJP, Congress, Indian Union Muslim League and fundamentalists outfits such as Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and the police.

“The BJP has been showing intolerance after the CPM-led LDF came to power with an unprecedented majority. The saffron party could win only one seat even after forging alliances with many caste and religion-based outfits. The lone seat was a gift from the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), which transferred their votes to the BJP candidate O Rajagopal as per a secret understanding,” he said.

Balakrishnan said that the RSS had expressed their frustration by attacking a victory rally of Pinarayi Vijayan at Dharmadam on the day of counting of the votes. A CPM worker was killed and several others were injured in the bomb attack. This was the beginning of the series of nine killings that Kannur witnessed since the Pinarayi government took office. The current propaganda that political killings in Kerala are on the rise whenever the CPM comes to power is based on these killings.

However, data for the last 16 years does not support this claim. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data shows that the number of murders during the last LDF and the UDF regimes were almost the same.

According to the data, an average of 365 cases of murder was registered each year in the state between 2006 and 2011, when Kerala was ruled by the LDF. The number was 363 during 2011-2016, when the state was ruled by the UDF.

The police data also show that the number of party workers killed, from the RSS and the CPM, in Kannur is roughly equal. The data obtained by FactChecker through a right-to-information, the number of RSS workers killed between 2000 and 2016 was 31 as against 30 CPM workers.

Updated Date: Oct 04, 2017 15:10 PM

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