The video of a little girl, whose father fell victim to political violence in north Kerala’s Kannur district, has gone viral on the social media.
Apparently inspired by recent posts made by Gurmehar Kaur, daughter of an Indian Army officer killed in J-K, the video shows 12-year-old Vismaya holding up a placard that asks in Hindi: “Why did you kill my father?”
Vismaya’s father EM Santhosh Kumar, an RSS worker, was hacked to death at his house in Andaloor – a part of chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s assembly constituency Dharmadam – a couple of months ago. “My father was my strength. He wanted to fulfil my dreams. All my dreams were dashed in one night,” she says in the video.
A video of the Class VIII student participating in a quiz competition had gone viral soon after Kumar’s murder, and many came forward to offer financial and emotional support.
“His only fault was supporting the RSS-BJP. They killed not only my father but also my dreams for the future. I see only darkness… I am yet to get an answer to why they killed my father,” Vismaya says in the video, adding that she wants to become a police officer when she grows up.
RSS leaders claimed they shot the video to expose the “atrocities” being perpetrated by CPI(M) activists on its cadre. “We wanted our message to reach a wider audience. If you visit Kannur, you can meet hundreds of such victims who were orphaned overnight,” said BJP district president Satya Prakash.
Kannur district, which is notorious for red-saffron violence, has witnessed the death of over 200 people from the two cadre-based organisations over the last 25 years. The chief minister was forced to convene an all-party meeting last month, after similar clashes erupted in other parts of the state too. A BJP delegation also met Union home minister Rajnath Singh to complain that the “partisan” Kerala police force was doing little to prevent the “annihilation of its workers in a planned manner”.
The RSS also conducted a series of exhibitions, called ‘Redtrocity’, in major cities of the state to highlight the violence in north Kerala. Vijayan, who was in Delhi two months ago, was forced to cut his visit short after saffron activists threatened to lay siege to Kerala House – where he was staying.
An RSS leader from Madhya Pradesh announced a Rs 1-crore bounty on the head of the chief minister two weeks ago, drawing protests from the Left parties.
The CPI(M)-RSS rivalry in the north Kerala district, traditionally a Marxist stronghold, dates back to over three decades. Many of its icons – such as AK Gopalan, EK Nayanar, KPR Gopalan and party state secretary Kodidyeri Balakrishnan – came from this area.
The trouble started in the early sixties, when the RSS tried to establish its foothold in the communist bastion. They were backed by the powerful Mangalore business lobby, which needed the RSS to check the influential Muslim trading community of Malabar Koyas.
The uneasy co-existence between the CPI(M) and the RSS exploded in 1968, when the Marxists killed Sangh activist Vadikkal Ramakrishnan. Since then, Kannur district has served as the arena for a gory battle of supremacy between the two organisations.