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Why the BJP wants AFSPA in a Kerala district

Last updated on: May 29, 2017 08:29 IST

'The CPI-M workers first destroy houses of our people and then kill them.'
'There is anarchy in Kannur.'

IMAGE: Union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy, centre, and Kerala BJP president Kummanam Rajasekharan, right, meet family members of RSS worker Choorakkad Biju who was murdered on May 12 in Kannur, Kerala.

On May 12, 34-year-old Choorakkad Biju, a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh worker, was hacked to death by unidentified assailants at Payyannur, a town in Kerala's Kannur district.

He was an accused in the murder case of Dhanaraj, a Communist Party of India-Marxist worker.

According to Kummanam Rajasekharan, the Bharatiya Janata Party's Kerala president, this is the 19th political murder in Kannur since the Pinarayi Vijayan government came to power in May 2016.

In an interview with Rediff.com's Shobha Warrier, Rajasekharan said his party has lost faith in the chief minister.

An RTI (Right to Information) query revealed that from 2000 to 2016, 31 RSS workers and 30 CPI-M workers have been killed in Kannur. Does it not show that both parties are responsible for the killings?

Why statistics of only the last 16 years? Political clashes started in Kannur in 1969.

If you want to talk about numbers, you either have to talk from 1969, or, talk about how many were killed in the last one year, since the LDF (Left Democratic Front) government came to power.

In 1969, it began with the murder of Vadikkal Ramakrishnan, a sweet maker in Thalassery.

In Kannur district alone, 87 BJP-RSS workers have been murdered so far.

In the last one year, there were 19 political murders in Kannur, out of which 13 were RSS-BJP workers and six were from other political parties.

All these 19 people were mercilessly hacked to death by CPI-M workers.

Why did the BJP ask for the imposition of AFSPA (the Armed Forces Special Powers Act) in Kannur?

Because the police is not able to protect our workers.

The CPI-M workers first destroy the houses of our people and then kill them.

There is anarchy in Kannur.

When the police and state government are not able to protect our people, who are we supposed to turn to?

It is to get back our right to live that we want AFSPA in Kannur.

What is the Centre's reaction to your request?

The proposal has not been sent yet. It is the governor who has to send the proposal to the Centre. That is why we met the governor.

After this incident, a couple of BJP leaders criticised the governor and said if he was scared of the CM, he should quit.
In the assembly, (BJP MLA) O Rajagopal made a statement that the sentiments expressed against the governor should only be seen as an emotional outburst of a few who are coming to terms with the loss of a young party worker.
Do you feel it was necessary to attack the governor?

You don't have to see the outburst as unnecessary.

You should understand that when a political party loses 13 of their workers to violence, when the party members are fearful of losing many more lives, is it not natural for them to feel that only the governor could help them?

In such an atmosphere, what else could they do but speak strongly?

Were they not criticising the governor?

No, they only said if the governor was scared of the CM...

You should note the 'if' in the statement. They didn't say the governor was scared of the CM.

Is it not because of such statements that the focus shifted from the murders to the criticism of the governor in the assembly and Rajagopal had to clarify?

The focus has not shifted from the murder; the focus is still on the political murders that are happening in Kannur.

No political party would approve of another party attacking its members and killing them.

One of the accused in the murder has even left the country.

People of Kerala see all this and understand the magnitude of the situation.

CPI-M leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has said the party denounces those workers who were involved in Biju's killing. Is it not a positive step?

They have been saying the same for a long time. After each murder, they say, the police would catch the criminals, they would be punished and they would see to it that it would not occur again.

Still, murders are happening regularly. What does this mean?

If they were really serious about the issue, they would have stopped their party workers from indulging in such violence.

So you don't believe what Kodiyeri says?

Whether I believe him or not is not the question. Murders should not happen in Kannur.

But they are happening and it is disturbing. We are the sufferers most of the time.

You showed a video clip related to Biju's murder, but Kodiyeri accused you of spreading misinformation. Even (Chief Minister) Pinarayi Vijayan said the video was not authentic.

What else do you expect them to say?

If he (Vijayan) felt it was not authentic, why did he ask the police to investigate the case?

But even before he asked the police to investigate the case, he gave the verdict too. He didn't say he would find out the truth.

Remember he is not the party secretary; he is the chief minister of the state.

Do you expect the sub-inspector investigating the matter to give a report that contradicts the chief minister? He will not.

In such a situation, how do you expect me to get justice?

The fact is that we will not get justice.

Biju was an accused in the killing of CPI-M worker Dhanraj in July 2016. In all these clashes, it is the workers from both parties who get murdered. How long will this go on?

You have to ask the question to the chief minister. I am also asking the same question.

Shobha Warrier / Rediff.com