People's Democracy

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


No. 12

March 13, 2012



Police Registers Case Against Attukal Devotees

N S Sajith

GIVING rise to a new controversy, Thiruvananthapuram Fort police has registered a case against 1000 women on the charge that they were creating a roadblock and curbing free movement during the renowned Attukal Pongala festival held on March 7. Some senior police officers were suspended after opposition parties protested against the government’s action.


Tens of thousands of ladies throng in this festival every year.


The Fort police registered the case as per the High Court directive on June 24, imposing a ban on wayside meetings. A report regarding this was submitted to the court of the chief judicial magistrate (CJM).


As we know, the court had earlier imposed a restriction on roadside public rallies and meetings by different political parties and organisations in the state. According to the direction, those conducting such rallies and meetings must give prior information about the number of participants, and that those exceeding a specified number would be disallowed.


A bench comprising Justice C N Ramachandran Nair and Justice P S Gopinathan had then directed the police, public works, local self-government and revenue departments not to grant permission for holding public meetings by the roadside. The court directed the police to remove the stage and other paraphernalia if anyone held such a roadside meeting. This directive was issued after a bar owner filed a petition against the workers’ strike in front of his bar.


The court justified its draconian order on the ground that it was meant to ensure free flow of traffic on public roads and safety of the travelling public. It held that holding public meetings by the roadside would create roadblocks. Besides, such a meeting ran a risk from rashly driven vehicles which may plough through the assembled crowd; as a result, loss of life could not be ruled out.


CPI(M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan said that the Attukal issue showed the dual face of Kerala chief minister, Oommen Chandy, who had assured to bring in a legislation to overcome the political effects of the court’s directive but did not. The action against the women pilgrims was taken soon after the chief minister gave this assurance in the assembly, Pinarayi said.




In what has come as the dirtiest episode of horse-trading in the history of Kerala, R Selvaraj on March 10 expressed his wish to join the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF). He had had to quit his assembly membership after he defected from the CPI(M) on whose ticket he had won.


While reacting to questions regarding his future plans only a day before, on March 9, Selvaraj had said that to join the UDF would be suicidal. But less than 24 hours later he staged an ugly somersault, saying that he would go to the UDF if the people so wished.


On the other hand, more evidence about chief minister Oommen Chandy and government chief whip P C George indulging in encouraging horse-trading, were revealed on March 10. On the day, media highlighted details of a speech made by P C George at a programme held in the preceding week in Pathanamthitta, where he had said that Kerala politics would take a turn the following week. Though he did not reveal the details, he gave explicit indications about possible defection. The media also revealed how Selvaraj met Oommen Chandy in the presence of P C George in the wee hours on March 9, at the chief minister’s residence. The number of the vehicle he used was also revealed.


However, the imminent entry of Selvaraj into the UDF created some chaos there. While deputy speaker N Sakthan Nadar welcomed him in the Congress, K Muraleedharan, son of late Karunakaran, strongly said any move to make Selvaraj a candidate in the Neyyattinkara byelection would be opposed. He added that there were so many leaders in the Congress to fight this election.


CPI(M) state secretary Pinarayi VIjayan said the conspiracy was hatched by the chief minister, Oommen Chandy, as the UDF was likely to face a defeat in the Piravam byelection that is soon to take place. Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan said huge amounts of money had been handed over by the Congress leadership to make Selvaraj hostile.


The picture that emerges is like this. As the polling for byelection to the Piravam assembly constituency is round the corner, the Congress leadership in Kerala tried and succeeded in pulling an MLA away from the Left Democratic Front. Thus one fine morning, in a surprise move, R Selvaraj, CPI(M) MLA from Neyyattikara, resigned from the house. Without any delay, CPI(M) district secretary Kadakampalli Surendran informed that the party had expelled Selvaraj who was a district committee member.


The common opinion in the state is that the Congress leadership indulged in this horse-trading because they were almost sure to face defeat in Piravam, and with that the UDF might come in a minority in the assembly. 




Kerala is currently witnessing unprecedented gatherings in the programmes that are being organised in the state in connection with and during the run-up to the 20th congress of the CPI(M).


Nowadays, every village and every town in Kozhikode district is getting ready to make the 20th congress of the CPI(M) a grand success. Leaving no stone unturned, party workers are burning the midnight oil to make the congress a landmark event in the history of the state. The whole district has been adorned with red flags and portraits of leaders, well before the beginning of the congress which is scheduled to be held in Kozhikode from April 4 to 9, 2012. 


We may recall that in 1989 the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram, had hosted the 13th congress of the CPI(M). Thus, it is after 22 long years that the state is once again to witness an all-India congress of the party in Kozhikode district, which is one of its strongholds in Kerala. Party workers in the district are now becoming a part of the programmes that are being organised in all area centres.


There have been and will be many programmes for the people who are not in the party fold. One such event was a marvellous History Exhibition, inaugurated by general secretary Prakash Karat on March 5, which became a point of attraction and discussion among the academics as well as common people. Re-creation of memorable moments in history is the objective of the month long History Exhibition that drew attention of tens of thousands of people in the very first week.


Apart from various cultural programmes, seminars on wide ranging issues, film and drama festivals, national level football, cricket and volleyball tournaments and other athletic meets are also being organised in connection with the congress. Various short film, photo and cartoon competitions have also attracted wide attention. Week long film and drama festivals are also going to take place in the city. 


Thousands of people gathered in 13 seminars held in 13 area centres, apart from three in the city. Other than CPI(M) leaders, prominent figures from other political parties and cultural, social and religious spheres joined. The series of seminars started from the birthplace of first anti-colonial warrior Kottakkal Kunhalimarakkar who led an aggressive naval resistance against the Portuguese in the 15th and 16th centuries. The last seminar was held in Beypore, a historic port town. Issues like class politics, communalism, history of renaissance, neo-liberalism, agricultural crisis, industrial problems, development, women, minorities, tribals, health and pharmaceuticals etc, figured in these seminars, with people numbering from five thousand to ten thousand assembling in each seminar, accompanied by cultural shows.


CPI(M) Polit Bureau members Pinarayi Vijayan and Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, Central Committee members V S Achuthanandan, A Vijayaraghavan, Paloli Muhammad Kutty, Suneet Chopra, Nilolpal Basu and P K Sreemathi, Congress leader V M Sudheeran, academics like Dr K N Ganesh and Dr Husain Randathani were among the prominent figures who spoke in the seminars.


These congregations also brought forth the old stalwarts. Old leaders from trade unions, student and youth organisations, cultural arena, teachers’ and government employees’ organisations, traders’ organisations congregated here. Activists of various class and mass organisations got splendid opportunities to interact with the predecessors. 


Kozhikode, a city obsessed with its never-ending soccer mania, felt delighted with a major tournament. A major football tournament, christened as E K Nayanar Gold Cup Football, was organised in connection with the party congress. Major teams like Legong FC Shillong, Air India, Kerala Eleven and Sesa Goa participated in the tournament that was held in the floodlit EMS Stadium in Kozhikode. Former Indian captain and captain of Rajasthan Armed Constabulary and Rajasthan Police, Makhan Singh, inaugurated the tournament, saying that he felt nostalgic on coming back to Kozhikode city where he had played several matches in the 1970s and 1980s. 


A football tournament organised in Koyilandi in memory of comrade A K Gopalan also attracted thousands of soccer fans. Volleyball lovers also quenched their thirst to see the performance of national players at Balusseri, the venue of Keluettan Memorial Volleyball tournament. A marathon and a half marathon are also to be organised.