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The violence of politics - The Hindu

K M Tampi ()
11 November 1996

Title : The violence of politics
Author : K M Tampi
Publication : The Hindu
Date : November 11, 1996

Though ideologically poles apart, the basic approach of
both the CPI(M) and the Sangh. Both blindly believe in
their ideology, both are intolerant of criticism and do
not mind using force to protect the interests they repre-
sent. It is this attitude which has placed them on a
permanent course of collision.

The CPI(M)-RSS clashes in the State have a long history
behind them. They began with isolated incidents in the
late Sixties. The serial killings began only in the late
Seventies. After that the largest number of violent
incidents and killings took place in 1982 and 1987. Some
two dozen persons belonging to both the groups were
killed in 1987. Hundreds of persons were injured in
clashes. The destruction of property was in addition to

Even though both sides have been pursuing the policy of
an eye for an eye and a tooth for tooth so far, the BJP -
RSS combine had for reasons of its own been lying low
ever since the LDF Government assumed office after the
last elections in May 1996. It was the CPI(M) which broke
the uneasy truce. Its workers are said to have been
behind the brutal killing of a BJP leader of Kannur
district in broad daylight and in the presence of the
members of his family barely days after the LDF Govern-
ment took over. While the CPI(M) supporters said the
victim was the architect of many such incidents against
CPI(M) workers, the BJP circles alleged that a Minister
was behind the plot to kill him. Rooms were reportedly
reserved in three guest houses in the vicinity for him
that evening but he stayed the night somewhere else. The
hinted that the rooms were used by the assailants. But
the BJP has not been able to prove its charge so far.

The spree of violence which began lives all BJP, RSS or
ABVP workers. Two of these incidents which involved four
young and promising college students shook the State. The
first of them took place in the Devaswom Board College at
Parumala in Pathanamthitta district. Following a dispute
between the ABVP and SFI workers, the latter allegedly
came to the college one day with outside elements. They
are said to have chased the ABVP workers some of whom
jumped into the Pamba river on the banks of which the
College is situated. While a few swam of safety, three
students were missing. Their bodies were later retrieved
from the river. What made the incident more tragic was
the report that stones were liberally used by the pursu-
ers to prevent the students from swimming to safety and
those on the bank from lending them a helping hand. Close
on its heels came the fatal assault on another ABVP
workers allegedly by SFI workers in Changanassery in
Kottayam district following a dispute between the two
students organisations in the local college.

The BJP-RSS-ABVP combine which confined its protest to a

few statements, demonstrations and public meetings even
after that, resorted to direct action only when political
violence claimed the tenth victim. An RSS worker of
Kasaragode was done to death again allegedly by CPI(M)
cadres. They retaliated by attacking the district commit-
tee office of the CPI(M), damaging things and roughing up
those inside the office. The CPI(M) organised a district
bandh against the office attack the next day and the BJP-
RSS combine organised another to protest against the
killing the very next day. The situation got out of hand
only when the police used what the ABVP described as
excessive force against the its activists who had organ-
ised a Secretariat march demanding the arrest of the
culprits responsible for the Parumala and Changanassery
incidents among other things towards the end of last
month. Actually the ABVP activists were asking for trou-
ble when they tried to storm the Secretariat.

The BJP organised a 12 hour bandh in Thiruvananthapuram
district to protest against its on November 1, the day
the Prime Minister, Mr H. D. Deve Gowda, was scheduled to
make his first official visit to inaugurate a prestigious
programme of the Kerala Government. The police fired in
the air on the eve of the bandh to disperse an unruly
crowd. That was the first indication that things were
going to take an ugly turn. And it did when the demon-
stration organised by the BJP and its fraternal organisa-
tions to protest against what they described as CPI(M)
inspired violence turned violent in Kollam on November 1,
Shops and other commercial establishments, vehicles,
public property and even newspaper establishments were

Even though the BJP leaders publicly said that the CPI(M)
and the police were behind it to divert the people's
attention at a time when public opinion was crystallising
against the CPI(M)'s politics of violence and murder,
privately they admitted that the incident happened be-
cause they lost control of the workers. They profusely
apologised to the public and the press for the lapse and
appointed a three member committee to probe the matter.
They also vowed to take action against their activists
indicted by the committee. A fact finding committee of
the LDF led by its convener Mr. M. M. Lawrence, has after
a visit to Kollam held the BJP and its fraternal organi-
sations responsible for the violence. It added that it
would ask the Government to find out whether there was
any lapse on the part of the police.

Some sections argue that the Government could have avert-
ed most of these incidents if it had taken strong action
without fear or favour against the trouble makers in the
beginning itself. There is not indication that it is
going to adopt such a stand even now. But the Government
had adopted a tough posture towards the BJP and its
fraternal organisations.

The chief Minister Mr. E. K. Nayanar, has warned them to
put an end to their violence. He said the Government
would be forced to take steps to face the street wars and
attacks and protect the people otherwise. He added that
the by-elections showed an increase in the support for
the Government.

The State Secretariat of the CPI(M) also urged the BJP to
put an end to its activities which had become a threat to

peaceful life. It asked the BJP isolating the Communist
and the Left movements through such attacks. the other
constituents of the LDF also condemned the violence.

he Opposition Leader, Mr. A. K. Anthony, the KPCC(I)
president, Mr. Vayalar Ravi and general secretary, Mr. M.
M. Hassan have been asking the Government for the last
few months to take steps to put an end to the widespread
violence and bloodshed in the state. Mr. Hassan urged the
Chief Minister to ask his own partymen to end their
campaign to terror before asking the BJP-RSS combine to
end its violence. He warned that the CPI(M) leadership's
bid to take on the BJP on the streets would only
strengthen it.

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