CM visits one Kannur family, skips other

The decision of Kerala's Marxist chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan to visit only the house of a slain CPM leader on Saturday night and skip that of a murdered RSS worker has shocked and surprised the people of the state.

By Santosh Kumar
  • Published 14.05.18
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Pinarayi Vijayan. File picture

New Delhi: The decision of Kerala's Marxist chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan to visit only the house of a slain CPM leader on Saturday night and skip that of a murdered RSS worker has shocked and surprised the people of the state.

K. Babu was hacked to death allegedly by a group of RSS workers last Monday night in Mahe, on the border of Puducherry and Kerala's politically volatile Kannur district.

RSS worker P. Shamej was murdered within an hour by suspected CPM workers.

Both men lived and worked in the same locality, but fell victims as they belonged to rival political parties that have been waging a war for supremacy in the streets of Kannur for almost five decades.

Wives of both the men have condemned the murders and hoped other women don't meet their fate.

At a peace meeting convened on Thursday after the two murders shattered the fragile truce in the area, it was decided that leaders of both parties would visit both houses.

So when the chief minister announced his decision to visit Babu's home, it was taken for granted that he would also go across and console the family of Shamej too.

As chief minister, everyone expected Vijayan to do so.

It didn't happen, to the shock and disbelief of locals as well as people across Kerala.

The chief minister refused to acknowledge the presence of the media at Babu's home and walked past them without answering questions about Shamej.

All local CPM leaders had accompanied Vijayan.

A fortnight ago, after the death of a 26-year-old, Sreejith, in police custody in Varappuza, there had been a similar demand that the chief minister visit the family.

However, Vijayan had driven past Varappuzha twice to attend programmes nearby, including the famous Thrissur Pooram where he had spent considerable time, but did not stop over and console Sreejith's mother, young wife and three-year-old daughter.

"Pinarayi Vijayan is yet to walk the distance from AKG Centre (the state CPM headquarters) to the secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram," said poet-activist Civic Chandran, adding: "Vijayan still thinks he is party secretary."

Chandran is not alone in criticising the Kerala CPM for its doublespeak on its stand against the BJP at the Centre.

There are innumerable instances of the state government reacting and behaving the same way as the Centre led by Narendra Modi.

While the Kerala CPM condemns a perceived clampdown on dissenting voices in BJP-ruled states, anyone raising his voice against Vijayan is booked in no time. And anyone who questions the Left government is branded anti-CPM and anti-Vijayan.

No wonder many in Kerala refer to Vijayan as "Modi in dhoti".

Insiders point out that the problem is that no other leader in the CPM has the courage to tell Vijayan what he did was wrong. A coterie of yes men surround him, they say.

The chief minister's refusal to go to the deceased RSS worker's house will have its impact on the peace process in Kerala. Vijayan with his "arrogant act" has only widened the schism further in strife-torn Kannur.