“One, two, three,” was how CPI(M) leader MM Mani had once described the killing of three political opponents one after another by the party in Kerala.
A video of this speech went viral two years ago, forcing the party, which dismissed his statement, to suspend him.
Now, former party MP AP Abdullahkutty has brought to fore another alleged episode that serves as a chilling reminder of the nature of political violence in the south Indian state.
What’s more, there is a reference to the manner of political killings in West Bengal, where the CPM and other Left parties had jointly ruled uninterrupted for 34 years before being ousted in 2011.
In an article published in a Malayalam daily on Wednesday, Kutty claimed the CPM’s Kerala secretary Pinarayi Vijayan had once advised partymen to emulate the style of their West Bengal counterparts while killing rivals.
According to Kutty, Pinarayi had said at a 2008 CPM meeting: “In Bengal, partymen kidnap opponents and bury them with a sack of salt without any trace. There won’t be a photo, news or blood stain.”
Kutty, a former CPM MP from Kannur (north Kerala), claimed in his article Pinarayi gave this advice when then Vatakkara MP Sathi Devi complained that Left MPs had to lower their heads in Parliament when Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs flashed gory pictures of political killings in north Malabar.
He also claimed that while addressing Devi’s point, Pinarayi had added, “What Sathi said is also right. We should learn from Bengalis. Their action is without shedding a drop of blood.”
Kutty, who was expelled by the CPM in 2009 for praising Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, joined the Congress and is now the MLA from Kannur.
Pinarayi dismissed Kutty’s claims as “a figment of his imagination”.
Kutty’s write-up appeared in Veekshanam, the Congress mouthpiece, a day after three CPM functionaries and eight others were awarded life imprisonment for murdering party rebel TP Chandrasekharan.
Kutty said in the article he got the courage to talk of Pinarayi’s 2008 advice after hearing the verdict. Chandrasekharan, who had floated the Revolutionary Marxist Party and challenged his former party’s might, was hacked to death on May 4, 2012.
Kutty claimed he had discussed Pinarayi’s words with a CPM leader from Bengal, who responded, “Look, Bengal line is simple. Your old Kerala style is barbaric. In Bengal, not even a drop of blood would be shed. The outside world wouldn’t see even a bone.”
Kutty concludes his article saying the TP murder verdict will act as a strong deterrent against politics of violence in Kannur.
More than 200 people have been killed in Kannur in clashes between the CPM and the right-wing Hindu nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in the last three decades.
Mani, meanwhile, is back in the CPM.