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Those who die making crude bombs get ‘martyr’ tag in Pinarayi Vijayan’s Kerala, provided they belong to CPM

According to the party, victims are considered martyrs as they sacrificed their lives 'fighting the fascist RSS'

Santosh Kumar New Delhi Published 23.05.24, 06:31 AM
Pinarayi Vijayan

Pinarayi Vijayan File picture

In Pinarayi Vijayan’s Kerala, those who die while making crude bombs can attain martyrdom with a memorial erected in their honour provided the victims belong to the CPM.

The latest to be honoured in party stronghold Kannur are Shyju and Shibu who were killed while making crude bombs at Chettkandi in Panur on June 6, 2015.


A memorial for the duo was inaugurated on Wednesday by state CPM secretary M.V. Govindan, with the Congress condemning such deification.

According to the party, the victims are considered martyrs as they sacrificed their lives “fighting the fascist RSS”.

Over the years, both the CPM and the RSS have turned crude bomb-making into a cottage industry in Kannur with a sizable number of young party workers engaged in it.

Both have their list of martyrs’ photographs put up in front of their party offices in the area. At one time, political murders reached such a level that both parties used to display a scorecard in front of their offices.

In the case of Shyju and Shibu, the state CPM leadership had disowned the victims, with then state CPM secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan going on record saying the “two had nothing to do with the CPM”.

However, their bodies were received after post-mortem by the then Kannur district secretary, P. Jayarajan, and thousands of party workers who took out a massive procession with the bodies.

Since then, barring Covid-hit 2020 and 2021, the party has been observing June 6 as Martyrs Day in the area, which has culminated with the erection of a memorial for the victims.

Kannur district had witnessed the maximum number of political killings at the time. Jayarajan, known as the apostle of political killings, was at the helm in the district and Vijayan was the state CPM secretary.

The victims of such explosions have always belonged to the lower strata of society, both economically and socially.

At the height of election campaigning this April, a 35-year-old CPM worker was killed when a bomb went off in Panur under the Vadakara parliamentary constituency, which was witnessing a neck-and-neck contest between former health minister K.K. Shailaja and Congress’s Shafi Parambil.

Though the state CPM has disowned the victim, the local leadership was in full force at his funeral, with Vijayan saying there was nothing wrong with it. Opposition Congress had produced photographs of the victim with Shailaja taken days before the mishap.

During his first term in office, Vijayan had brought some sort of truce in Kannur that was brokered by self-styled spiritual guru Sri M, who is said to be close to the RSS top brass.

While the peace has been sustained, which observers note was a political necessity for Vijayan, bomb-making has been continuing under political patronage.

The only difference is that instead of “fighting fascist RSS”, these bombs are used against immediate political rivals such as Congress and Muslim League workers.

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