Editorial

Communal clouds in Kerala: On hate slogans in SDPI rally

The slogans raised by a child at a rally in Kerala’s Alappuzha on May 21 were chilling not merely for the death threats that they make. The fact that an innocent child could be indoctrinated and tutored such that he could call for violence portends a communal storm that is making landfall in the State. Organisers of the rally, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), disowned the slogans, but not in any reassuring manner. The Islamist group’s claim that its rally was to save the Republic does not cut ice, considering its track record and the threatening posturing that it has engaged in, in recent years. It is merely using the democratic space and the prevailing environment of Hindutva upsurge to advance its dangerous, nihilistic communal agenda. At least five people have been killed in Kerala in SDPI-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) rivalry in the State in recent months. In April, in Palakkad, an SDPI worker and an RSS worker were killed within a span of one day; in December 2021, a State Secretary of the SDPI and a Bharatiya Janata Party OBC Morcha State Secretary were killed in Alappuzha in a similar pattern. This was preceded by the murder of an RSS worker in Palakkad, in November. All these killings were brutal in nature, and added an unmistakable communal hue to violence in Kerala unlike the occasional clashes between the RSS and the CPI(M).

The latest incident is not an isolated one. Muslim angst is being harnessed by extremist organisations that dismiss the Indian Union Muslim League, a constituent of the Congress-led United Democratic Front, as a futile political platform for the community. The BJP and the RSS are pushing hard to expand their presence in the State. A toxic cloud of communalism is enveloping the State, as Hindu, Christian, and Islamic groups, and devious politicians are trying to profit from disharmony. The Opposition Congress and the BJP have condemned the Alappuzha incident and criticised the ruling CPI(M) for its disturbing ambiguity on the issue. The Kerala police have filed an FIR in connection with the provocative slogans, but what is missing is a political message. Both in words and action, the Kerala government and the ruling Left Democratic Front led by the CPI(M) must make it clear that any call or mobilisation for violence is unacceptable in the State. Political expediency must not be a determinant in responses to communalism. Along with strong administrative measures, Kerala must shore up all its inherent strengths through popular mobilisation against communalism of all hues — Hindu, Christian or Muslim. The government must take the lead.


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Printable version | Jun 3, 2022 5:06:54 am | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/communal-clouds-in-kerala-the-hindu-editorial-on-hate-slogans-in-sdpi-rally/article65460774.ece