Political murders are not new in Kerala. Political murders only merited a flash news in the channels and few paragraphs in the inside pages of the leading newspapers in the past.
One murder in Vallikkad near Vatakara in Kozhikode district is turning to be mother of all political murders of Kerala. It has been almost one month since this news has caught on the Kerala’s media and collective conscience of Malayalis. However, it does not seem to be dying down anytime soon.
It was on May 4th night that the unfortunate event of this murder happened in the most brutal manner heard of in such a murder so far. The killers came in an Innova vehicle and called the RMP leader into an isolated spot in the area at around 11 PM in the night and hacked him to death. He reportedly takes a different route home everyday. He was on his motor bike alone as he always has been traveling without any line of defense in spite of threats to his life.
Breakaway communist party.
TP Chandrasekharan was an active CPI (M) member till four years back. Due to some serious differences mainly with the official faction of the party, he decided to go ahead with the forming of a new communist faction known as RMP (Revolutionary Marxist Party).
The differences of opinion with the official faction of the CPI(M) were reportedly mainly two. 1) The differences in the CPM faction gaining the control of the Eramala panchayath – official faction reportedly wanted to avoid TP Chandrasekharan gaining the control because of his closeness with VS Achuthanandan 2) Some people refer to the TP Chandrasekharan leading a four people team to see the party supremo state secretary Pinarayi Vijayans home as the second cause for rage against him.
RMP party faced many obstacles since it was formed four years back mainly from the opposition CPI(M) leveled against it. However RMP survived and succeeded in achieving a seemingly unattainable 21,000 votes in the parliamentary elections held in Vatakara without aligning with any other political forces. It is speculated that congress offered to Chandrasekharan the MP post if the RMP was ready to shake hands with them. But a true idealist, TP politely declined that offer.
A natural leader with excellent coordination and leadership skills, it is Chandrasekharan’s relentless work that created a strong base for the party in Onchiyam and adjacent towns in Vatakara Taluk.
He is said to be such a person who strike a chord with the most ordinary people in his area. He can be seen patting the back of anyone on vacation from the Gulf for a tea in the Orkkatteri town. He can be also seen serving dishes in the traditional Kerala marriage conducted at homes. He was a commoner without a rank or title; one among the masses. Apparently he never held any position of power ever in his political life.
I used to wonder why a leader like TP Chandrasekharan can’t be made Kerala’s chief minister after learning about him. I truly believe that we need the kind of leader who can sincerely think for the welfare of the ordinary Keralites instead of those dictators in politics who rule the roost most often in India.
VS and Pinarayi politics:
It has not been recently that these two stalwarts of Kerala politics were fighting with each other by taking differing positions on matters of party affairs and ideology. Now with the murder of TP Chandrasekharan, this fight has intensified and reached levels of a point of no return.
VS Achuthanandan is shocked by the killing and refused to exonerate his party from the culpability of this heinous murder. On the other hand, state secretary who leads the official faction of the CPI(M) party in Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, was clear in his rejection of TP Chandrasekharan and his ideology and went on to label him ‘Kulamkuthi’ (traitor) even after the death of this locally much loved and respected leader.
In fact in death, all the enmity with an individual should cease to exist in normal circumstances. One must assume that difference of opinion the CPI(M)’s official faction harbored against the RMP leader was so grave that the state secretary could not reconcile with him even after his most heart braking type of death.
TP Chandrasekharan has become a greator leader in martyrdom:
Most people believe CPI(M) is behind the death of this courageous founder of RMP. In fact there are so many indications and beliefs including the ones of VS Achuthanandan and TP’s wife Rama’s that make one think so. There were also numerous attacks against this tiny party founded in Onchiyam near Vatakara in Kozhikode district by the CPI(M) cadre. Some of RMPs leaders were grievously attacked and they survived by pure luck. TP himself explains some of these attacks in videos posted on the Youtube.
It is a fact that one month after a death has happened on May 04, 2012, Kerala’s media is still very much carrying TP’s murder in the frontpage and prime time channel debates. This is very unusual in Kerala where a political murder only merits a one time a day flash news in TV channels.
In Kannur, head quarters of Kerala’s political killings, a death of a political activist whether it is from RSS, CPI(M), or other groups does not carry much news value for a long time now. Somehow death of TP Chandrasekhar, most probably because of his popularity in the general public as a righteous leader, became a major news item and it is refusing to die down even after one month of almost non stop reporting and debates. On the day after his murder it was full time news on the channels.
Unheard of cruelty in the style of murder:
Animal planet is one of my favourite channels. I am used to watching wild animals defeating the prey after a long and arduous chase. After the prey falls to the ground, they often bite the prey on their neck and chock them to death. After the death, they eat them for food. When the prey is big, they attack often in a group and bite the prey in different areas of the body. Once the prey falls to the ground, it is choked to death by biting in the neck blocking the preys windpipe. When you learn how TP Chandrasekharan was murdered, you will be left with no doubt animals are far better than us humans.
In the case of TP Chandrasekharan, the murderers inflicted on him, particularly on his face, with sharp objects such as big machetes, fifty two wounds, to kill him. His brain has reportedly protruded out and the doctors in the Calicut Medical college struggled for hours during postmortem to stitch the face back to something that looked like a face for his wife and child to give a final kiss. From the video of the body it is visible what a horrendous attack it was. What a death for a man who did no mistake but left the CPI(M) and founded his own political outfit? One also wonders how the killers can be such inhuman psychopaths?
The fact is that such cruelty is inflicted so that others are deterred from moving against the party or forming a new political outfit. The attackers or the party wanted to silence opponents in such a gruesome way so that such voice of opposition and descent is silenced effectively and they dare not deviate from the line of the party’s politics whether it is acceptable or not.
Police investigation into Chandrasekharan’s murder:
ADGP Vincent M Paul, who is leading the special investigation team (SIT) is an officer decorated by the president of India and respected for his integrity and investigation skills. Anup Kuruvila John is another officer with the SIT who proved his skills in the past. No one can cast aspersions on the professional competence of such officers as Vincent M Paul and Kuruvila John.
Smt. Rama, the wife of slain leader has so far expressed complete confidence in the way investigation has been progressing. THe DGP of Kerala, Jacob Punnose and Mr. Vincent M Paul were both officers who also served under the previous ministry of LDF which CPI(M) led. Hence the CPI(M) is in no position to complaint that the police officers are corrupt and inefficient through they love to say so.
There are many officers who is working day and night tirelessly to bring this case to a logical conclusion. Unlike any investigation in the past, where the police received a list from the party for suspects, this case has evolved into a mother of all political murder cases in Kerala especially since general public and the frontline media is watching this case keenly to find out who are the true perpetrators and who planned the murder.
All those arrested have CPI(M) connections.
Day after the murder, CPI(M) state secretary conducted a press conference and called the murder the work of contract killers. He also expressed opinion that terrorist link needs to be probed. However, all of those who police have so far investigated and arrested either held positions in CPI(M) or are connected in some way with the party.
CPI(M) party has been trying hard to absolve themselves of any responsibility in this heinous murder of TP Chandrasekharan, but more they try to untie the knot, it is tying the party into the murder more and more as each day passes. Now they have taken a stand defending them rather than pleading innocence after so many of their workers and leaders have been arrested.
CPI(M) Central leaders silent:
Central leaders have also fell silent in the face of the most grievous crisis unfolding in Kerala in the recent past in the party. They are facing multiple issues in Kerala.
First of all their top leaders are fighting a war of words saying the exact opposite of each other. Secondly their state secretary took a stand calling the slain leader TP Chandrasekharan as ‘Kulamkuthi’ a Malayalam word which means traitor. Central leadership also does not know whether to call this statement right or wrong. Opposed to the word Kulamkuthi, VS Achuthanandan who is opposed to the state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, called Mr. TP Chandrasekharan as a ‘brave communist’. This is a stand exactly opposing the one taken by the official faction of the party which Mr. Pinarayi represents.
Mani (bell) rings:
To complicate matters further and to put CPI(M) party in a very difficult spot, one of the district secretaries from Idukki, M. Mani openly spoke in a public address in Idukki that they made a list and killed political opponents. He named three killings and explained how those executions were carried out. Video footage of his speech is on the youtube for all to see.
After this speech, which stunned the people of Kerala and reported even by the venerable BBC, CPI(M) party moved to becoming more defensive. They have made some feeble response to the mounting criticism by persons from all corners of the society and politics.
Pained by the death and the cycle of violence:
Actor Mohanlal wrote in his blog that he knows how much and how deeply his mother is pained when he is hurt even mildly. He further said that he is shocked to think how sad and pained Chandrasekhar’s mother would be at her age of 83 by the loss of her dear son.
This is not the first political killing of Kerala. In the past ten or twenty years, numerous people lost lives to their political opponents sword. Kerala needs to come out of this situation. Personally i feel that the planners, those who order these killing, are doing far greater a harm than those who are executing their orders for money. Those who are doing the act of killing made it a profession and would kill for money. Those who are planning and ordering these killing are mostly hidden leaders of political outfits who needs to reconcile with their opponents in an act that can save numerous human lives.
In TP Chandrasekharans case, he is survived by his wife KK Rama and Son Abinandh. Their world has changed for ever. A son losing his father and wife losing her husband is heart braking for those who have a conscience. Recalling something i red recently, those CPI(M) members who have connection to this murder must have mortgaged their conscience and humanity in the party office before they go for the kill.
Planners and instigators are greater evil:
As i already said, i strongly believe those who plan and instigate these murders are top political leaders of the party. They are committing a greater sin than those who actually do the killing. It is because there are orders for the killing, killers are on the prowl.
We need an end to this. Kerala has many labels; some good and some bad. We do not want a new label also. CPI(M) party’s Kannur lobby has been particularly at dock for many of these political killing that happen in the region. Fassal murder and Shukur murder has been other two cases which clearly involved CPI(M) cadres and happened most recently.
There has been blame against the cultural leaders who did not come forward and put the blame squarely on the party. However, rightly, Smt. Sugathakumari who is a well known poet said in a channel debate that she herself participated in efforts to educate and correct the members of the society who commit heinous crimes against women and against other social evils. She clearly said that her work in these areas did not get her much result. She opined that just because cultural leaders come out and speak against political murders, it will not root out the problem.
VS visits TP’s home; to an emotional family:
TP Cahndrasekhar’s wife KK Rama and his mother cried uncontrollably holding the hands of the veteran CPI(M) leader VS Achuthanandan whose ideals TP supported wholeheartedly and for what he earned the anger of the official faction of the CPI(M) headed by Pinarayi Vijayan.
Yesterday on 3rd June, 2012, VS finally visited their home in shock treatment to the official faction of the party. He also visited the body when it was laid for public viewing at Kozhikode town hall after his death on May 4th. In fact he was the only important CPI(M) leader to visit the slain leaders home.
In Onchiyam where TP Chandrasekharan belong, a large mass of people gathered to witness VS Achurthanandan visiting his home. TP’s wife later said in the channel debate that she and the people of Onchiyam were happy that VS visited the home. She said it gave her great relief. Soul of her husband would be happy to know that his beloved leader, comrade VS for whose ideals he fought staying outside the party, visited his heart broken family.
In the channel, TP’s mother can be seen crying uncontrollably and holding VS’s hand. Rama also could not control her emotions seeing VS Achuthanandan while during the visit of most other leaders she looked calm in the past one month.
Orkkatteri – the serenity broken:
The area where the killing happened is called Vallikkad which is a small town near Vatakara municipality. It is also a town close to Orkkatteri where TP Chandrasekharan was most active with his political work.
In fact it is reported that the group who killed him, tried to do it on the 1st of May in the busy Orkkatteri town by first hurling a bomb to create panic and then planning to hack him to death. TP was in the habit of coming to Orkkatteri town every morning after 10 AM to buy fish from the market and that is when they wanted to finish him. However the new mobile SIM cards they bought failed to work as activation needed some time. Due to this, the person who stood to report to the murderers who were waiting a little ahead to signal TP Chandrasekharan’s arrival in the town failed to do so. Hence that plan failed on the 1st.
Mullapalli is watching:
The great relief for people like me who want the executioners and the high level planners punished in this heinous killing is that the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr. Mullappalli Ramachandran is watching the police investigation very closely as he said in a meeting in Vatakara recently. He is also the MP of Vatakara. Hence he considers it his moral responsibility to find the culprits as soon as possible.
Mullappalli unequivocally indicated in the Vatakara meeting that in case the investigation takes an ugly turn and the police seems to be limping for any reason, there is a an agency in the waiting who will take over the investigation. He meant to order a CBI investigation by saying this.
This time around, most peace loving Keralites except the hard-line CPI(M) activists, want the perpetrators and planners caught and punished. They want this to be the last political killing or at least one which will restrain these killers in the future from new planning.
In a world full of conflicts, wars, ethnic cleansing etc, dictators, terrorists, we have to decide as Keralites whether we want to allow such brutal atrocities for opposing an ideology or in many cases opposing a leader, to happen in our own land. We have to decide as Keralites who also live across the world and as one of the most literate in the world, we want to allow and live along with those who have difference of opinion or ideology.
Question is whether we want a Kerala which is Gods own country or devils own country. If we are going forward the way we are, we will be known as the latter sooner than later. I believe our leaders have to make their mind. Good leaders who love their people whether opposed to them or not can never harm their people. let our leaders find love and respect in their hardened mind and not turn dictators.
Recently a friend reminded me that you don’t become a leader by declaring yourself as one. You become a leader when others consider you as their leader. Our leaders often forget that fact. Another thing our leaders think is that without them India will be in trouble. I would like to remind such leaders that my country has close to 120 billion people and there is obviously a better one than you. So do not worry whether the country will be leaderless if you leave.
India is a functioning democracy. We do not want Saddam Husseins and Colonel Gaddafi’s. We want Abdul Kalam’s and Lal Bahadur Shasthri’s.