Political murders

Intra-party and inter-party feuds frequently lead to political violence and murder in almost every State. The victims are not only political workers or activists but also totally innocent men and women who have nothing to do with politics. In West Bengal this type of violence and death has become a matter of almost daily occurrence. Name any other State, UP or MP or Rajasthan or Maharashtra or Gujarat, each has a record of political violence and murders. Kerala has a long history of political rivalry and clashes between the CPM and the RSS. Murders and retaliatory murders are very common there. All political parties agree that such things have no place in a democracy but there is a wide gap between what they profess and what they practise.
Last Saturday, an RSS worker was murdered in Kerala, allegedly by CPM activists. But unlike in the past, the Governor took personal cognizance of the murder and summoned Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and DGP Lokenath Behera and asked for a report. This was an exceptional and praiseworthy move on the part of Governor P. Sathasivan. It sent a message to the State Government to take political violence seriously and deal sternly with such cases. The Kerala Governor’s action stands out in sharp contrast with the inaction of the Governors of other States where they take political murders of either political activists or ordinary citizens in their stride and never go to the extent of summoning the CM or the police chief. In Madhya Pradesh, for example, ever since the Vyapam scandal was disclosed, scores or witnesses and accused have either committed suicide or been murdered but the Governor as the head of the State never demanded an explanation from the chief of the government or the police chief.
Seen in this background, the Kerala Governor’s taking cognizance of the RSS worker’s murder is a welcome development and should serve as an example. If all Governors act likewise in all cases of political murders, the ruling party, the civil administration and the police will be forced to give up their chalta hai attitude and take effective steps to stop political violence. If, however, that does not happen, the public perception will be that the Kerala case was an exception because the victim was an RSS man. As the ruling party at the Centre and in most of the States, the BJP should not allow such a perception to grow.

Tuesday, 1 August, 2017