COST OF DISSENT
The gruesome murder of a CPI( M) rebel exposes the blood- soaked politics of revenge in Kerala
The murder of T. P. Chandrasekharan, a CPI( M) dissident, on May 4 marks the return of violence in politics in northern Kerala. Chandrasekharan, 50, was on his way home to Onchiyam in Kozhikode district when he was waylaid by assailants who hurled country bombs at him, after which they hacked him to death with sharp- edged weapons.
His assailants are yet to be identified, but police suspect they include jailed pro- CPI( M) supporters out on parole. Leaders of the ruling United Democratic Front ( UDF) have accused the Marxists of the crime. “There is no doubt the killers were hired by CPI( M),” said Ramesh Chennithala, state Congress president. Chandrasekharan’s widow, Rema, also said, “CPI( M) was my husband’s only enemy. There were threats to his life from them ever since he left the party.”
Denying the allegations, Pinarayi Vijayan, the party’s state secretary, said, “UDF is spreading lies. They want to keep alive the suspicion against us until the crucial by- election to Neyyattinkara ( on June 2) is over.” CPI( M) has even accused UDF of orchestrating the murder. Vijayan said the Innova car which the assailants had used belonged to a relative of Vayalar Ravi, Union minister for NonResident Indians, and that P. C. George, UDF’S chief whip, had visited the area a few days before the murder to hatch the conspiracy.
What rubbed salt into the CPI( M)’ s wounds was Opposition leader V. S. Achuthanandan’s presence at the funeral of Chandrasekharan, who was Achuthanandan’s staunch supporter in the Marxist factional war. Achuthanandan, the only LDF leader to attend the funeral, called Chandrasekharan a brave Communist.
CPI( M) has been restive ever since Chandrasekharan and hundreds of workers from Onchiyam panchayat, a Communist fortress, left the party in 2009. The dissidence began as part of the factional war within the CPI( M) between Achuthanandan and Vijayan. Chandrasekharan and his comrades formed the Revolutionary Marxist Party ( RMP) and helped UDF candidate Mullappally Ramachandran win the Vadakara seat, a CPI( M) bastion, in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. RMP stunned the CPI( M) again when it won many panchayat seats in Onchiyam in the 2010 local elections.
CHANDRASEKHARAN ( LEFT) IN 2009