People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 12

March 23, 2008


Kannur Violence: The Facts

P Sasi

Recently, the RSS-BJP goons attacked CPI(M) central office, AKG Bhavan, in New Delhi and followed the dastardly act with other pre-planned attacks on the residence of the Karnataka Party state secretary, on Party offices in Dehradun and Kanyakumari, and the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram in Hyderabad. True to their tradition of goebbelsian propaganda, leaders of the RSS-BJP have justified their violent acts by pretending to be victims of CPI(M) violence in Kannur. However, nothing could be farther from the actual truth. Therefore it is important to keep the real facts regarding the violence in Kannur in sight in order to understand the unprovoked attack by the RSS on the CPI(M) in Kannur as well as in the rest of the country.

Contrary to the allegations by the RSS-BJP, the CPI(M) has not taken up arms against political rivals in Kannur district in Kerala. Rather it is the RSS, which has indulged in programmatic violence against the CPI(M) and has tried to keep a violent confrontation alive over the last several decades. During the 1970s itself the RSS chose the Thalassery taluk in Kannur district as a target for spreading their politics of hate and violence against the minorities and the communists. The choice of Thalassery was not accidental. Thalassery has large concentration of Muslim community and the RSS sought to foment communal trouble in the area. They orchestrated a communal riot in the region in 1972 by spreading rumours of Muslim attacks on temples and Hindu women. They planned to attack mosques in a big way. The CPI(M) played a determined role in resisting the attacks by RSS criminals and Comrade U K Kunhiraman sacrificed his life while guarding a mosque from RSS attack. The Justice Vithayathil's Report on the Thalassery riots recognised the role played by the CPI(M) in ensuring communal harmony and censured the RSS for 'rousing up' communal feelings and for 'preparing the background for the disturbances.' Since then, the RSS has been targeting the CPI(M) in the area as it was the only force that had shown the political-ideological and organisational resolve to resist and combat the fascist agenda of the Sangh outfit.

Due to its relentless struggles in defence of secularism and people's interest, the CPI(M) has consolidated as the biggest political force in Kannur district and commands the support of more than 60 per cent of the people living in the area. Different political parties and opposition organisations function in the area without any restraint. The CPI(M) had never initiated any political violence against them.


The RSS has certain limited pockets of influence in Kannur. It runs several RSS shakhas in those areas where training is provided in arms and criminal activity. Even children are imparted instructions in the use of deadly arms and indoctrinated in the politics of hate and intolerance from a tender age. The RSS has sustained its influence in area by indulging in two types of activities: entering into violent confrontation with the CPI(M) and fomenting communal trouble against the minorities. A total of 53 CPI(M) activists and sympathisers have been killed by the RSS in the district alone and hundreds injured or maimed.

In all this while, several efforts have been made by the CPI(M) and successive governments in Kerala to bring peace in the area. In 2000 and 2001, the RSS unleashed a series of attacks on CPI(M) leaders and cadre killing many in the violence. The then chief minister E K Nayanar initiated a peace process in 2001 and the CPI(M) declared unilaterally that it would not retaliate. Subsequently, the scale of violence went down. However, the RSS did not stop its criminal activities. In February 2002, CPI(M) members  Asraf in Panoor and Muhammed Ismail in Peravoor were killed by the RSS goons. They also hurled bombs on a Nabi Day procession in Neerveli in Kuthuparamba constituency. They even tried to attack a mosque in Neerveli in March 2002. Muslim women were also attacked. In February 2005, CPI(M) member Renjith was killed in Kannapuram while in June 2006, Yaqoob from Meethle Punnad was killed. In the same year in Punnad, which falls in Peravoor assembly constituency, the RSS destroyed many Muslim houses to instigate communal violence. A total of 86 minority families were driven away from their homes. The incident began after the killing of an NDF activist by the RSS and which led to killing of a RSS leader in retaliation. The RSS used this to unleash a full-scale communal assault.

Many RSS activists, trained in criminal activities, left the RSS and joined the ranks of the mafia-money lender nexus in the district in order to become professional criminals or hired goons. In fact, it is this weakened organisational situation that has made the RSS resort to renewed violence against the CPI(M) in the recent past in order to motivate and consolidate its ranks behind it. The intensified murderous attacks on the CPI(M) over the last one-year have been designed as part of a conscious strategy to overcome their organisational crisis.

Intensified attacks since 2007

The RSS has increased its attacks on the CPI(M) since March 2007 as part of a deliberate and well-planned strategy. The incidents started when, state leaders of the BJP including O K Vasu and M T Ramesh openly declared in public meetings that they would kill CPI(M) leader P Hareendran, Panur area secretary of the CPI(M) and district committee member and proceeded with a bomb attack on him on March 29, 2007. Although Hareendran escaped the attack, he was targeted many more times and even his wife, Shaja Das was threatened with dire consequences while she was proceeding to her office. Again in March 2007, Babu, district secretary of barbers'association was attacked in his shop. On May 6, 2007, bombs were thrown on the houses of Anilkumar and Dhanesh, both members of the New Mahi local committee of the CPI(M). On the same day, the house of Rajesh, municipal councillor, was attacked and his family members injured. On May 17, 2007, two children, Nikhil and Jithin were attacked by a group of BJP workers and again on October 20. On May 19, 2007, C V Raghu and C V Vinodan, CPI(M) workers of New Mahi, were targeted in another attack. In the same month Pavitran, branch secretary of Muryad Chulli and Rijesh, Dhanesh and K Vasu were attacked. Although they escaped with minor injuries, those who accompanied them after discharge from the hospital, T Balakrishnan, CPI(M) local secretary of Koothuparambu, K Manoharan, local committee member, Vasu, member and Muhas, the auto-driver, were once again attacked seriously.

On June 14, Vinod, a milk supplier in Dharmadam panchayat, was attacked by these forces. He was paralyzed below his waist after the attack and is still bedridden.  Kelallur Dhanesh, who was attacked by RSS workers on 23 June 2007, is still undergoing treatment. On August 16, 2007, the Tokkilangadi branch office of the Party was ransacked and P Shaija, the branch secretary was abused. The next day an attempt to attack the house of K P Rajan was foiled. On August 22, the house of Chandran, CPI(M) branch secretary in Chittaripparambu Poovathinkeezhil was attacked. On September 1, Ajesh, Baburaj and Shaji escaped a bomb attack. On September 13, RSS criminals beat up Shiju, a DYFI worker. On October 29, bombs were thrown on the house of Kanakan, CPI(M) Mannayad branch secretary. A wreath was also left in front of his house by the attackers.

On November 5, 2007, the RSS once again attacked and killed M K Sudheerkumar, near Thalassery Kavumbhagam School. Sudheer Kumar was a van driver and was taking children to school. He was killed brutally in front of students in his van. The very next day, November 6, Parayi Pavithran was attacked brutally and he succumbed to the injuries on November 9. On November 13 Dharmadakkaran Promod, CPI(M) branch secretary was attacked. A few days later, on November 19, Valsalan, another Party worker was injured in a bomb attack. On December 5, 2007, K P Vatsalan, CPI(M) Mahi branch secretary was attacked. On the same day, four more CPI(M) workers, Kathiroor Moonnammile Jess, Eranjoli Dinesh, Shijil Eruvatti Dhanesh and Thiruvangatt Mahesh were attacked in different incidents. The next day, on December 6, the RSS goons attacked CPI(M) workers participating in a local Party jatha of the Azhikkodu branch. On December 14, Dhanesh, a CPI(M) sympathizer was attacked and the Neerkadavu branch office was ransacked. A nearby shop run by Vilasini was also destroyed.

Peace Meeting Decisions violated

Peace efforts were again initiated by the district administration. The CPI(M) did not retaliate against these provocative attacks by the RSS and cooperated with the peace process of the district administration. On December 22, 2007, the Kannur district collector convened a peace meeting of all parties, including the RSS. However, the RSS violated the decision of the peace meeting and again stepped up its murderous attacks. Four days after the meeting, they attacked the house of Sachin, CPI(M) member in Thiruvangat. On January 6, 2008, RSS goons destroyed five auto-rickshaws of CPI(M) members and attacked CPI(M) activists who were traveling in a bus. On the same day a bomb was thrown at the house of A C Manoj, secretary of the CPI(M) Thalassery north local committee.

M Dhanesh at Azheekkodu Meenkunnu was attacked and killed on January 12, 2008. He was returning home on a bike with his friend after work at night. On January 18, the motorbike of Maroli Raghavan was destroyed. On the night of January 26, 2008, in Thalassery, K P Jijesh was attacked and killed while on his way back home from a marriage. On  the next day the office of Kodiyeri Madappeetika south local committee and Party branch offices at Temple Gate, Mannayad and Pallur were destroyed. There were attacks against Christ College and City Centre in Thalassery. The attackers also set fire to the Dinesh Bhawan. On January 28, CPI(M) local committee office of Chavassery town was destroyed. Among the 13 attackers, the police could catch only eight. Party member Gay Kumar's home at Ayyam Kunnu, Mundamaparambil was also looted. The house of Biju, a Party worker from Patinjantamkutti, was attacked with a bomb. On March 5, Thalassery Illikkunnnu M P Renjith was chased and killed while he was driving his auto-rickshaw. Two days later on March 7, K Anish of Panur in Puthur was murdered in the early morning near his home. Thus, the RSS-BJP vandals have engineered six cold-blooded murders during the last four months.

In Poovathur, RSS criminals destroyed campaign boards erected as part of the Cheruvanchery Chandran day. CPI(M) flags raised as part of the Party state conference were torn. On February 12, 2008 Koothuparambu Ambilattu Bhaskaran, a Party member was brutally attacked. Posters threatening to murder CPI(M) workers appeared in Kothuparambu, Kinattinvida. Campaign boards made as part of the CPI(M) area conference were also destroyed. RSS workers going for Jayakrishnan Day threatened to kill P Jayarajan and Panoli Valsan. DYFI flags and notice boards were destroyed by the RSS in Thrikkodipoyil-Chemmarathil. Puthalath Surendran, who had joined the CPI(M) after leaving the BJP, was attacked. On January 1, during the Aazhi Pooja, weapons were captured from a jeep (No. 5819) at Kolayatt Venduttara. On February 24, 2008, RSS criminals attacked two CPI(M) workers during a temple festival. On March 6, 2008 Jyothi, a CPI(M) member was attacked. A day earlier on March 5, Jijesh of Gopalpetta was attacked. On March 8, Sharada, a CPI(M) sympathizer was attacked. On the same day another Party sympathizer Sameer, a head-load worker in Thalassery market and Riyaz, a sympathizer of Muslim League, were attacked and severely injured.

Role of  the Media

The CPI(M) members, activists and sympathizers had to bear severe, brutal and continuing physical attacks by the RSS not only in Kannur but also in other pockets of the state. Obviously, the people became more vigilant and prepared to resist such attacks by RSS criminals. The rightwing media, both inside and outside the state, are consciously hiding the fact that it is the CPI(M) which is bearing the brunt of the attacks by the RSS. They have either ignored or underplayed all such attacks, including the killing of four comrades, maiming hundreds of activists, destroying the offices and the series of incidents mentioned above. The RSS is continuing with their one sided and unprovoked slaughter in the district. CPI(M) had never encouraged such killings, never imposed restrictions on the organisational freedom of any organisation, including the RSS.

Despite losing many of its workers to RSS violence, CPI(M) has continued to take the message of peace among the people. The mutual commitment to peace made on December 22, 2007 in the presence of the district collector was possible because of CPI(M)'s stand. It is the RSS which tore the peace pact apart by killing CPI(M) workers Meenkunnil Dhanesh on January 12, 2008 and Jijesh on January 26, 2008. Even then the Party tried to continue its commitment to peace process. The CPI(M) is open for any efforts for bilateral talks even after all the attacks on its activists. The party has always co-operated sincerely with the peace process. The CPI(M) had never initiated violence and will not do so in the future either. This fact is well known to the people of Kannur and that is why the vast majority of the people of the district have always extended strong support to the CPI(M) amidst all the rightwing malicious media campaign.

[P Sasi is the Kannur district secretary of the CPI(M)]