Collective speaks out against political violence

CPI(M) and BJP see new initiative as a UDF prop

Published - April 07, 2019 10:34 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

An unlikely crew of politicians, writers, historians, lawyers and commentators have cobbled together a platform to highlight what they describe as Kerala’s culture of political violence that has bereaved scores of families of breadwinners, corroded democracy, and undermined public safety.

Historian M.G.S. Narayanan, political thinker and former Naxalite K. Venu, novelist Umesh Babu, Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) leader K.K. Rema, and activist-lawyer K.M. Shajahan are the key of movers ‘Citizens Against Violence in Public Life.’ The nascent campaign has caused CPI(M), and the BJP see red, and both have accused the forum of being a proxy for the Congress.

First meeting

Ms. Rema told The Hindu that the forum planned to campaign in all constituencies against the practice of annihilating political enemies. It held its first public meeting in Kottaparambu in Vadakara on Saturday. Ms. Rema’s RMP has brought an emotional focus to the battle for Vadakara by aligning her party with K. Muraleedharan of the Congress in a bid to defeat P. Jayarajan of the CPI(M). Ms. Rema has repeatedly held the CPI(M) responsible for the murder of her husband and RMP leader T.P. Chandrasekharan in 2012.

Mr. Shajahan, who had conducted a quantitative study on political murders, said the brutal tit-for-tat street killings had claimed at least 575 lives since 1957. Kannur reported the highest number of deaths, an estimated 150. The BJP and the CPI(M) were the major players in the politics of annihilation. He said 91.2% of the victims and assassins were from the lowest sections of society.

Mohan Roy, psychiatrist and medical officer, said allusions to retaliatory violence by leaders could encourage cadres to respond aggressively to rivals.

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