Kerala

Speculation about Palakkad CPI(M) activists' killers spark a political row in Kerala

Strident political speculation about the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] activist Shajahan’s killers has sparked off a political row in Kerala.

Unidentified persons had hacked 39-year-old Shajahan to death in Palakkad on Sunday, the eve of the 75th Independence Day.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president K. Sudhakaran said a fratricidal feud within the CPI(M) in Palakkad had resulted in the murder. Shajahan was a member of the CPI(M)'s local committee in Marutha Road.

Internal strife, says Congress

"Congress is ideologically and politically opposed to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). But, the BJP is not responsible for every political murder in the State. The CPI(M) cannot always hide its crimes by raising the bogey of the Sangh Parivar", he said. Leader of the Opposition V. D. Satheeshan mirrored a similar sentiment.

Mr. Sudhakaran said Shajahan's fellow activists had identified his killers as CPI(M) members on live television. Moreover, the social media profile of the suspects testified to their political allegiance.

Mr. Sudhakaran alleged that the CPI(M) was “stockpiling arms” across Kerala. He said the fractures in the CPI(M) in Palakkad had come to the fore violently. More such fissures would appear in the CPI(M) soon.

"The ruling CPI(M) had more weapons than the police. Its cadres are increasingly profiting from crime. They either turned on each other or targeted opposition activists wantonly. The CPI(M) controlled the police. The current probe will not uncover the real killers or their motives. It would peter out like the AKG Centre firecracker explosion probe," he said.

Meanwhile, the Palakkad police's First Information Report suggested that political rivalry had prompted Shajahan's murder. It said the victim had sustained deep wounds inflicted by a sharp-edged weapon on his neck and limbs. However, the police were yet to identify the accused or effect arrests.

Suspects switched sides: CPI(M)

CPI(M) district secretary E.N.Suresh Babu claimed that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) had plotted and executed the murder. He noted that the suspects had severed their links with the CPI(M) and switched sides to the BJP.

The CPI(M) has strongly condemned Mr. Sudhakaran's suggestion that Shajahan's murder resulted from internal strife in the party.

In a statement, the CPI(M) State secretariat urged the public to reject the "false propaganda" that party members had turned on each other in Palakkad.

The CPI(M) alleged that since 2016, the RSS had “killed at least 17 party workers in Kerala”. It condemned the murder and charged that an RSS hit team had carried out the killing. The CPI(M) State secretariat also perceived a plot to foment widespread social unrest in Kerala.

The BJP district president, Palakkad, K. M. Haridas, said neither his party nor the RSS had any role in Shajahan's murder. He seemed to echo Mr. Sudhakaran's perception that festering internal strife in the CPI(M) had culminated in the crime.

Communist Party of India State secretary Kanam Rajendran said political parties of all hues should desist from speculating about the murder. They should not jump the gun and prejudice the investigation.


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Printable version | Aug 16, 2022 9:35:56 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/speculation-about-palakkad-cpim-activists-killers-spark-a-political-row-in-kerala/article65771808.ece