People's Democracy

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


No. 41

October 14, 2012





Media Manoeuvrings for Manufacturing Consent


K K Ragesh


KANNUR district in Kerala is traditionally a strong base of the CPI(M). The communist movement in the district grew through heroic struggles and resistance, including the memorable struggles at Thalassery, Thillangerry, Kayyur, Karivellur, Korome, Kavumbai, Munayankunnu, Padikkunnu, Payam, Peralam, Pazhassi and Morazha where people fought against imperialism as well as landlordism. It was thus Kannur became one of the strongest centres of the CPI(M) in the country, a district where the party has a big mass base and great organisational strength. That is why the party and its leadership have always been targeted by anti-communist and other political opponents --- as a part of their strategy to undermine the party’s base here. The current media hype and forged cases targeted to implicated the CPI(M) are nothing but part of this very heinous game plan.




Let us go back a little back. Ariyil locality in Pattuvam panchayat under Thalipparamba taluk of Kannur district is an area of the IUML’s influence. Here, in many areas of its dominance, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) has constantly been unleashing an offensive not only against its political opponents but against all activists and sympathisers of other parties, in order to make them go away from their native land. They often threaten the non-League sections with dreadful consequences so as to make them sell their houses and other properties and go away. The flags and posters of other parties, including those of the Congress, are not allowed to be displayed in these areas. Attacks on the vehicles carrying CPI(M) flags and banners and passing through these areas are very common, and numerous cases and complaints have been filed at Thaliparamba police station in this regard. Ariyil locality is one of such extremist dominated areas where the League extremists show extreme intolerance towards non-League sections.


It was in such an atmosphere that, without any provocation whatsoever, Rajan, the CPI(M)’s branch secretary in Ariyil, was brutally attacked on February 19 this year when he was distributing copies of Deshabhimani newspaper early in the morning. In this attack, both his legs were crushed and it is clear that he, a toddy-tapper, would never be able to pursue his job in future. There was absolutely no provocation for such a terrible attack that left Rajan’s legs permanently damaged.


After the incident, however, CPI(M) activists displayed utmost restraint and did not succumb to any provocation, though the CPI(M) did organise a peaceful protest demonstration in the evening. But the League hooligans declined to tolerate even slogan shouting in the area and resorted to an attack against the protest demonstration. Many comrades, including the panchayat president T Latha, were injured in this criminal attack. Even after such heinous attacks, the League criminals declined to stop their hooliganism. Subsequently these criminals attacked CPI(M) supporters, damaging Narayani’s house and Gopalan’s teashop.


CPI(M) district secretary P Jayarajan and T V Rajesh, MLA, visited the area after these repeated attacks against the party cadres and sympathisers. Prior to the visit, P Jayarajan conveyed the information on phone to the IUML’s district president and stressed the importance of ensuring peace in the area. Prior to his visit of Ariyil, he also informed the district police chief about the gravity of the situation.


However, immediately after the party leaders’ arrival at Ariyil where the party activists and sympathisers were under incessant attack, an extraordinary incident took place --- IUML goons attacked P Jayarajan, T V Rajesh MLA and other leaders. All the news channels at that time reported the incident with visual clippings that showed the IUML goons shouting and rushing towards the CPI(M) leaders with stones and weapons immediately after they arrived at Ariyil. Jayarajan and Rajesh narrowly escaped with minor injuries from this pre-planned attack though other leaders who had accompanied them in an auto rickshaw, including the former panchayat president T Balakrishnan and DYFI block secretary Rajesh, were seriously injured. All of them were admitted to the Taliparamba Cooperative Hospital.




However, the same League leaders who had assured P Jayarajan, while talking over phone, that they would do everything to stop the wave of violence and send the League vice president to ensure it, subsequently justified the heinous attack. It so happened that when the party leaders were being attacked, the driver hastily moved his vehicle in one direction, such that it hit one of the League hoodlums who sustained a minor injury. This was the chance occurrence which the IUML leadership ridiculously pounced upon in its eagerness to justify the unwarranted attack. Also, they subsequently propagated the big lie that the aforesaid incident was the provocation for the attack. Instead of stopping the wave of violence, the League leadership has thus aided and abetted the criminals through a spiteful propaganda barrage.

After this bout of attack on CPI(M) leaders, the people noticed that the criminals were trying to shift towards safe and secret shelters. It was then that a League activist was killed in a clash with the people. But the IUML leadership sought to lay the blame for the unfortunate incident on the CPI(M)’s door, without ant rationale whatsoever. If one observes the whole series of events carefully and impartially, one may easily understand the odious agenda of the IUML to make communal consolidation possible through conscious provocations. This has a double benefit for them. While they thus try to weaken the CPI(M)’s base through terror, they also get a chance to falsely propagate that Muslims are being attacked and malign the CPI(M) in this process. It was thus that they used the unfortunate death of a League worker against the CPI(M), and tried to gloss over the deplorable series of incidents which led to this unfortunate incident.




A month after the said incidents that took place on February 19 and 20, the rightwing media in the state entered the scene with new stories. The screenplay was prepared by the chief minister’s office just before the Piravam byelection and was broadcast by the media including the Malayala Manorama and Mathrubhumi with added flavours. The rightwing media thus served cock and bull stories to the readers under many titles, like “Party Court,” “Two Hours Long Trial,” “Death Sentence,” etc. It became the “breaking news” in TV channels and also a topic of discussion in the channel rooms for many days. Using all available means the rightist media thus involved itself in promulgating a fairy tale verdict upon the CPI(M), even though these ideas did not find any place in the statement given by the League activist who was injured along with the one who had died.


The question is: If any photos were taken and sent to someone or many through MMS and if a ‘two hours long trial’ was at all conducted, why were these things not mentioned in the FIR? One may note that the FIR was prepared by the police on the basis of the statement given by the injured League activist. But why didn’t he make these ‘shocking revelations’ at that time? However, such genuine doubts have no takers among those of the anti-communist camp who are involved in the propaganda barrage masterminded by the chief ministers’ office. Kerala is thus witnessing how the media under the control of the corporate houses has become a stooge of the anti-communist forces and how it dances to the tune of the ruling rightwing political leaders.


The gist of the whole story is this: while CPI(M) district secretary P Jayarajan visited Ariyil to provide solace to the victims of IUML hooliganism, the media served the UDF agenda by propagating that the CPI(M) had hatched a conspiracy to foster violence against its opponents. This conspiracy theory was designed to generate the perception that violent incidents were taking place under the direction of the CPI(M) leadership. The media also resorted to numerous deceitful tales about statements made against high level CPI(M) leaders, etc.


Amid such calculated propaganda, the investigating team issued a notice to P Jayarajan about taking his statement. After his statement was taken in the presence of the district police chief, however, the rightwing media eagerly entered the scene with their so-called ‘breaking news’ and discussions, stating that the investigation team had got ‘crucial evidence.’ 


After a month, the investigating team issued another notice to Jayarajan, whereupon he requested some more time due to ill health. In this period, he went to Eranakulam for medical check-up when he also visited Eranakulam Jail to meet the CPI(M) district secretariat member Karayi Rajan and Karayi Chandrasekharan who were remanded in a forged case. When the media used this visit to raise a controversy, the district police chief did something unprecedented --- he issued a statement to the media that details of Jayarajan’s jail visit, public programmes and meetings attended by him would be submitted to the court. This statement was a clear indication that the police had from the very beginning decided to register a serious case against Jayarajan. The obvious question was: if a person is not an accused in a case, how can a district police chief submit anything against him or her to a court?


When Jayarajan went to record his statement for the second time, curiously enough the investigation team, which had been aiding the media hullabaloo, had had no new question to ask. However, after the team sent Jayarajan a third notice, he was summoned to the CI office where he was arrested and sent to jail. The charge levelled against him was under Section 118 IPC (concealing design to commit an offence, which is punishable with death or imprisonment for life).


But the castle of lies constructed by the CM’s office, the investigation team and the media got demolished after a chargesheet was submitted. The fabricated stories of a ‘MMS message,’ ‘party court,’ ‘two hours long trial,’ ‘death sentence,’ etc did not find any place in the chargesheet. Nor did the ‘revelations’ about ‘crucial evidence’ and ‘confessional statement given against Jayarajan’ find any mention in the chargesheet. Strangely, however, the same media which had proliferated such big lies as ‘breaking news,’ maintained wilful silence over this fact. After submission of the chargesheet the media seemed to have been uninformed about its own creations like the ‘party court,’ ‘party trial,’ etc. It was thus clear that the media was only trying to shrewdly manipulate the public opinion by repeating its lies again and again.


As for the investigating team, it did not have any evidence to trap P Jayarajan and T V Rajesh in a murder case and yet it went to the extent of creating fake witnesses and recording their testimony. In its chargesheet the team ridiculously argued that two IUML activists, who were standing outside the hospital room where Jayarajan and Rajesh were admitted, had heard the CPI(M)’s local committee secretary Venu talking over his phone and saying that the League activists who had attacked the CPI(M) leaders should not be spared. The team’s conclusion was that Jayrajan had heard this telephonic talk. The rightwing media, which has stooped so low as to serve as the UDF’s mouthpiece, eagerly gulped this argument also.


Is this a credible argument? After the IUML attack on CPI(M) leaders, thousands of party activists and sympathisers kept visiting the hospital and there was always a huge gathering outside the room where these leaders were admitted. Can one then believe that two IUML activists were standing outside this room at that time? However, even if it is accepted for the sake of argument, can one argue that Jayarajan, who was already in the room, had ‘heard’ the telephonic talk? Also, if hearing a telephonic talk is a crime, why the same charge was not made against the IUML activists who had heard Venu talking on phone? And why didn’t they inform the police in time in order to prevent a crime? Shouldn’t they be prosecuted under the same Section 118 of the IPC, punishable with death or imprisonment for life?


But such rational arguments have no value amid the pandemonium created by the media-government nexus, with the media ludicrously portraying as great findings the humbugs of the investigation team under the ruling UDF’s pressure. Yet it remains a substandard gimmick to malign the CPI(M), and Kerala is witnessing how fourth estate has degenerated here into a mouthpiece of rightwing politics.