With the police on red alert, the 65 anniversary of the ‘martyrdom’ of communists at Onchiyam was observed at separate functions by three pro-communist organisations on Tuesday.

Prohibitory orders have been clamped on four panchayats in Vadakara taluk till May 6 in view of the hostility between the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP).

The martyrdom day was expected to be a show of strength by the two organisations.

It is an annual event to pay tributes to the memory of 10 party workers killed at Onchiyam in 1948, eight in police firing and two others in police custody.

There was heavy police deployment at Onchiyam and the neighbourhood on Tuesday, as it was the first time such a programme was being organised there after the murder of the RMP leader T.P. Chandrasekharan last year.

The CPI(M), led by its Kozhikode district secretary T.K. Ramakrishnan, in the morning took a pledge at Purankara, where the martyrs were laid to rest. Party activists pledged to renew their struggle to strengthen the party and carry on the martyrs’ struggle.

In the evening, a public meeting was inaugurated by CPI(M) State secretariat member M.V. Govindan.

CPI workers staged their function at Onchiyam and offered floral tributes to the martyrs on the Purankara beach.

Led by former MLA Sathyan Mokeri and E.K. Vijayan, MLA, they held a remembrance meeting to commemorate the sacrifices of the Onchiyam martyrs.

The RMP programme was led by its leaders K.S. Hariharan, K. Venu, and the late Chandrasekharan’s wife, K.K. Rema. The separate observance by the CPI and the CPI(M) was a departure from the convention followed in the past.

It was their differences in perception on the murder of Chandrasekharan that led to the CPI and the CPI(M) deciding to have separate remembrance programmes.

The police alert was in view of the tension generated by the ongoing trial in the Chandrasekharan murder case. The police had staged a flag march at Onchiyam on Monday to announce their presence and preparedness to put down attempts to create disturbances.

It was four days after the martyr day observance last year that Chandrasekharan, who had revolted against the local CPI(M) leadership, was hacked to death.