Sunday, March 16, 2008

When CPM rules, it is barbarism in Kerala: Oomen Chandy

Kerala voters should do well to kick out the CPM murdering goons from controlling the state. If goons control the state, this is what happens, Chandy. Barbarism is the ideology, apart being chinese chamcha-s like Karat's and Yechury's running upto Beijing for guidance. At least now, Kerala voters should wake up and do the right thing.


State-sponsored barbarism

Oomen Chandy

First they rained stones at a Congress peace rally in Kannur and now, after last Sunday's Delhi incident, go about as the wronged party

Kannur has become synonymous with political murder and represents the very worst in democratic politics. The violence has been raging for three decades now and should be opposed at any cost. Naturally, the first question that comes to mind is -- who is responsible and why? The short answer is the CPI(M). Thalassery and Kannur districts are the prime bases of the Marxists. The Home Minister is from this part of north Kerala.

It is not only the RSS which has lost its workers to the CPI(M)'s murderous tactics, several Youth Congress and Kerala Students' Union activists have also been killed. Some local Congress leaders have also lost their lives to the Communist killers. Though I am a Congressman and it is my duty to maintain equal distance from the RSS, which is a communal force, I must say that it is the CPI(M) which has got to be opposed more vehemently.

The Congress has taken a political stand that in politics there is no space for violence and that the Kannur killings are a blot on democracy. Earlier, there were some instances in which the Congress was also involved but the leadership has taken a strong stand that people taking violence and violent course in politics does not have any place in party and the Congress workers are now not involved in any political violence in the district.

The Government of the day, the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front, instead of finding a solution to the endless cycle of killings followed by revenge killings, is stoking the fire. It was unfortunate that a leader of the stature of Mr Pinarayi Vijayan should have stooped to the level of calling on Marxist cadre to "return with compound interest" any death of a party comrade. The CPI(M) Politburo member said this at a public programme in Thalassery. Shortly after this vitriolic speech, seven people lost their lives in Thalassery. Then, BJP vice-president M Venkiah Naidu went to Kerala and threatened the CPI(M) that it would be given a fitting reply in other States. The unfortunate incidents outside the CPI(M) headquarters in Delhi, AKG Bhavan, may have been a result of this speech. However, the matter is under investigation. As a Congressman I condemn the perpetrators, whichever side they were from.

Murders and revenge murders have been going on in these two north Kerala district since 1969. But, whenever the State came under Congress rule, places like Thalassery, Panoor and Nadapuram became peaceful. This happened not due to some magic wand waved by Mr AK Antony or Mr Oomen Chandy, but because the Chief Minister of the time, who also held the Home portfolio, allowed Kerala Police to professionally manage the situation. But the Marxists emasculate the police with untoward interference. And violence returns. Therefore, the CPI(M)'s responsibility multiplies.

We gave Kerala Police, an otherwise efficient force, full freedom to catch the actual culprits. In these politically volatile places there is a long tradition of keeping lists of culprits and criminals maintained in the respective political offices. When the UDF was in power, we asked the police not to be influenced by these lists, but carry out investigations and arrests after non-partisan inquiry. Nobody was above the law to us and we did our best to keep the number of incidents in check.

Another major step taken by the police was that other than the actual culprits those involved in conspiracies were also charged. Naturally, this meant several local-level Marxists had to be arrested. The CPI(M) began to launch huge protest demonstrations against this. The United Democratic Front had taken a collective decision that the Police ought to have the upper hand on this issue as they are the best judges of the situation. The result was there for all to see. The contrast with the present situation is equally stark.

In 1999, the Marxists committed horrific murders in Kannur. The RSS, too, gave it back on some occasions. Immediately after the UDF assumed office in 2001, the violence stopped in Kannur. Then, in 2006, the LDF returned to power. Soon, violence resumed in Thalassery. I, along with Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala went on a Shanthiyatra from Kannur to Thalassery. The CPI(M) not only mocked the Congress for this, but also encouraged its activists to pelt stones at the processionists as we went around the districts. It was in the CPI(M) pockets that the intensity of the stone throwing increased. This in itself shows how intolerant that party and its leaders are.

Another important point to note is that the leaders of the CPI(M) and the RSS had assured Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan in separate peace meetings with them that there would not be further violence. It is intriguing to note that that there were no further clashes for some time after this assurances, which goes to prove the involvement of the top leaders of both sides. But when the violence resumed, we have no option but blame the CPI(M) as it is controlling the Government and it is the Home Minister's duty to ensure the protection of all lives. Moreover, Mr Balakrishnan is from Thalassery district.

In democracy all political parties claim that they are working for the betterment of the people. If what they preach is true then why are these parties going for each other's throats? The Government should not act in a partisan manner. It is guilty of viewing its political opponents differently from the masses. The tragedy is that those who lost their lives in these clashes and those injured and maimed for life are all from the lower strata of society. The majority of them are autorickshaw drivers. These people were the only breadwinners for their families. What words of comfort would the leaders have for the widows and children of those killed? The CPI(M)'s ideological hollowness becomes very clear to the people after this. The party which claims to be working for the toiling masses does not think twice before encouraging a culture of political violence in which only the poor get killed.

-- The writer is former Chief Minister of Kerala and leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly

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