Women, the unintended victims of a bloody political war in Kannur | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Women, the unintended victims of a bloody political war in Kannur

After losing her husband and son to politics of intolerance, 48-year-old Narayani plans to approach the CPI(M) leadership with a strange request: Instruct party cadres to execute her as well.

india Updated: Oct 17, 2016 08:31 IST
Ramesh Babu
Recurring political violence between the RSS and the CPI(Mhave ) claimed more than 200 lives in north Kerala's Kannur district. Narayani during her son Remith’s funeral.
Recurring political violence between the RSS and the CPI(Mhave ) claimed more than 200 lives in north Kerala's Kannur district. Narayani during her son Remith’s funeral.(HT Photo)

After losing her husband and son to politics of intolerance, 48-year-old Narayani plans to approach the CPI(M) leadership with a strange request: Instruct party cadres to execute her as well.

The unintended victims of the bloody political war in Kannur are the women who have lost their family members. In the single-minded approach to settle scores and build memorials for their “martyrs”, the desperate wails of these poor women are often drowned.

In the last nine months, seven people have been killed and about 40 have escaped murder attempts.

After the murder of her husband, Uthaman, allegedly by CPI(M) workers in 2002, his widow struggled to raise her son, Remith, on her own. The killing of her son last week before her eyes was the last straw, and Narayani feels she has no more fight left in her.

“Why should I live now?” she asks.

Barely 2 km from Narayani’s house, tears are yet dry in the house of Mohanan, a CPI(M) branch secretary, who was hacked to death allegedly by a group of RSS activists last week.

A son being murdered in front of his parents, a school teacher being dragged out of class and butchered before his students, and another chased and killed after hurling a steel bomb — such brutality is now commonplace in this land of ancient martial art form Kalari payattu.

Recurring political violence between the RSS and the CPI(Mhave ) claimed more than 200 lives in north Kerala's Kannur district. (HT Photo)

When it comes to payback, both sides plot to outsmart each other. Just 48 hours after Mohanan was murdered last Monday, RSS-BJP activist Remith was killed in similar fashion.

A walk through the worst affected Pannur, Kathirur and Pinarayi villages, and the hollow shells of the unintended victims left in the wake of the bloody war are hard to miss. Helpless women struggle to survive, unable to confront the void in their lives. There survivors consider those who died lucky.

The end, however, seems a long way out. After the conflict claimed its two latest victims in CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s village last week, the usual blame game is on. The CM, who is yet to call a customary peace meet, wants the RSS-BJP to shun violence first, but the latter insists that it needs some space in the Marxist heartland.

Transforming the spate of murders in Kannur into a national issue appears to be on the agenda, based on the recently concluded BJP national council meet.

“I have never seen such an innocent bunch of people in my life. But when people of Kannur take up arms, all these attributes crumble,” wrote national-award winning actor Salim Kumar in a Facebook post, lamenting the cycle of violence.

When Left-leaning actor Sreenivasan commented that in Kannur’s bloody war, only poor workers get killed, there was a big uproar and he was accused of portraying “martyrs” in bad light.

“If leaders make some sincere effort, killings will stop but I don’t think they will do this,” said the actor-storywriter who has often tried to expose this politics of intolerance.

KK Rema, the widow of Marxist renegade TP Chandrasekharan — who was killed by a criminal gang patronised by CPI(M) four years ago, also agrees that the killings cannot be done without the consent of the party leadership.

“In the unending cycle of violence, women are the worst sufferers. They turn orphans one fine morning. Slighted and overpowered, they have to come forward otherwise blood will flow,” she said, adding that she would like to sensitise women in this regard.

The result of three decades of violence and about 250 killings is there for everyone to see — the area lags economically, with investors steering clear, and young girls of marriageable age in some villages are unable find partners, as outsiders dread entering.

The need of the hour is for the party leaders to shun the politics of violence and disown criminals who fan trouble. Otherwise, Kannur will be reduced to a mere blot on the face of democracy. Being the biggest political player here, the ruling CPI(M) will have to go the extra mile and not seek refuge in statistics.