Confused Party Of Marxists? Ghosts of past sins haunt Stalin’s Kerala successors
Red Czars of Kerala, who had been dominating the destiny of the people of the state till a year ago, are now living in anxiety and confusion over the destiny awaiting them as a lot of problems haunt them. While the rebellion unleashed by former Chief Minister VS Achutanandan is yet to subside, the arrest of several CPI(M) functionaries in murder cases and law-enforcers reopening old cases of killings with the party’s alleged involvement in several political murders have completely upset the party.
Octogenarian Marxist leader VS Achuthanandan’s silence over the central committee’s direction to him to publicly admit the “wrongs” he had allegedly committed to the party through his “defiant” activities and statements has caused confusion and concerns among the top CPI(M) leadership as well as his supporters within the organisation and outside.
The leadership of the Kerala CPI(M) and its supporters in the Politburo and central committee are waiting to see Achuthanandan “reforming” himself or getting out of the party quietly. They feel that Achuthanandan would not do either of this but could shock them again by taking a totally unexpected line.
While Achuthanandan himself has already indicated that he would not admit his “mistake” to the people as the party desired, general secretary Prakash Karat still believes that he has no option but to do that. Karat recently said that Achuthanandan had already admitted his mistakes to the central committee and that he would publicly admit it soon.
However, his supporters, both in the party and outside, say that Karat and company will be disappointed if they are expecting the octogenarian leader to act as they want him to. They say that Achuthanandan is waiting for the best opportunity to hit back at the leadership in Kerala as well as in the Centre.
Karat and the official leadership of the Kerala CPI(M) claim that Achuthanandan had already admitted in the central committee (CC) that his comparison of state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan to former CPI chairman SA Dange and his visit to the home of murdered rebel leader TP Chandrasekharan by embarrassing the party were things he should not have done.
Meanwhile, despite pretensions of boldness, Achuthanandan’s loyalists are a worried lot. They feel that things had reached at a point from where there is no return and if he decides to surrender it would be detrimental to their existence in the party. “This time, it is a stay-in or get-out situation. I think he should end his silence,” said a VS-loyalist from the Kasaragod district unit.
Many CPI(M) heavyweights are already behind the bars for killing a firebrand revolutionary who deserted the CPI(M) four years back and a young Muslim League worker and several others have gone underground fearing arrest. Many others are living in anxiety as skeletons of their past brutality continue to tumble out of the cupboard.
Marxists of Kannur, so far known as the impregnable fortress of the Kerala CPI(M), have always faced the charge of killing their political adversaries at will, handing over lists of loyalists to the police to be named as accused, a force intimidated by the Left government and muscle power, and getting themselves off the hook when the cases reached the courts.
That world changed for the Marxist masters with the murder of rebel TP Chandrasekharan of Onchiyam in Kozhikode district on May 4. Somehow, the Marxist bosses failed to see the writing on the wall that times have changed and with it the tolerance of Keralites towards brutal political kings.
Seven middle and top-level Marxist leaders have already been arrested for participation in and conspiracy behind the brutal murder (there were 51 deep wounds on the face and neck of the rebel when the body was found) and more are on their way to the lockup if indications given by sources in the police are to be believed.
But what is worrying the Red Czars more is the police’s plan to reopen old cases of Red-sponsored murders. Efforts are on to reopen the case of the brutal murder of Yuva Morcha leader KT Jayakrishnan in 1999 in Kannur, on the basis of the disclosure by TK Rajeesh, the hoodlum who had coordinated the killers as per CPI(M)’s instructions.
According to Rajeesh, only one of the seven persons named as accused in the case by the police had participated in Jayakrishnan’s killing and the police had named all others as per a list provided by the CPI(M). He also said Jayakrishnan, a teacher, was hacked to death in front of his under-11 students on the orders of a very senior CPI(M) leader in Kannur district.
One of the Marxist leaders who should be losing sleep in this context is CPI(M)’s Kannur district secretary P Jayarajan, whom critics describe as the mastermind of several political killings in the district.
Jayarajan is accused of protecting two party leaders Karayi Rajan and Karayi Chandrasekharan, accused of involvement in the murder of Islamist Muhammad Fazal in Thalassery, Kannur in October, 2006. The CBI, probing Fazal’s murder, had complained to the High Court that they were unable to arrest the duo due to CPI(M)’s interference.
It is not just the CPI(M) leaders in Kannur who are being haunted by specters of past sins. The police have made good progress in the efforts to reopen several murder cases in Idukki district in southeast Kerala after the voluntary disclosure by now-removed district party secretary MM Mani that the CPI(M) used to kill its adversaries, mentioning three such specific killings.
Fearing arrest, Mani, against whom an FIR has been registered, has already approached the High Court for getting the proceedings against him quashed. Top police officials are confident that they can trap all the bigwigs behind such killings provided the government gives the force a free hand.
Marxists of Kannur had tried to create tension between the RSS and Islamists by deliberately putting the blame for the brutal killing of Muhammad Fazal, an activist of the NDF (presently Popular Front of India), on the Sangh, the CBI said in the chargesheet it filed recently in the case at the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Ernakulam.
After the murder, the Marxists deliberately tried to pit the Islamist outfit and the RSS against each other by putting the blame for the murder on the Sangh through speeches at public meetings, the chargesheet said. That the culprits had deposited the blood-stained clothes after the murder at RSS centres was proof of this intent, it said.
Though there were a total of ten accused in the case, the chargesheet was against eight as two of the accused were yet to be identified. The CBI said that these two men could be identified only after questioning Rajan and Chandrasekharan who were in hiding. The Kannur CPI(M) had earlier said that it would not allow the CBI to arrest the duo.
The CBI said that the two Marxist leaders, charged with murder, had conspired to kill Fazal, a former DYFI worker, and engaged a gang of killers led by Kodi Suni, a CPI(M) sympathizer, for the “job”. All the members of the killer gang were workers or sympathizers of the party, the chargesheet said.
The Kerala High Court had on March 11, 2008, ordered a CBI probe into the murder of Fazal on the basis of a petition filed by his widow Mariyu. The then LDF government appealed against the single-judge bench’s verdict but a division bench upheld that order on September 4 that year. The Supreme Court also upheld the order later.
By Pradeep Krishnan From Thiruvananthapuram