Hate speech in Kerala

P. Sreekumaran

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) unit in Kerala is feeling the heat literally and politically. The reasons for the blue mood in the party are not far to seek. First and foremost, the party’s efforts to expand and consolidate the third front led by it have suffered a severe setback with its sole ally, the Bharat Dharma jana Sena (BDJS) airing its anger over the BJP’s failure to keep the promises it had made to the BDJS.
Secondly, the party finds itself in a tight spot thanks to the hate speech made by its general secretary K. Surendran the other day in Mangaluru. In his speech, Surendran had admitted that his party had indulged in political violence, including murders, in the state. The BJP leaders are on record that, during the tenure of the erstwhile UDF Government in the state, the BJP had only two per cent vote share. Even then, the party had responded to every attack in an ‘eye for an eye’ manner. Every attack was replied with an attack and so was every murder.
The CPM promptly pushed the state BJP on the defensive with DYFI state secretary M. Swaraj filing a complaint before the State police DGP seeming action against Surendran. At least 30 SFI/DYFI activists had fallen victim to political murders during the UDF regime, said Swaraj in his complaint. The CPM suspected that the Sangh Parivar to be behind the violence. Surendran’s revelations would throw more light on these murders, he added. Hence his complaint to the police.
Ironically, the BJP-RSS leaders in the state have maintained a deafening silence on Surendran’s speech with the sole exception of former BJP State chief P S Sreedharan Pillai who belongs to the group that rivals the one Surendran belongs to. Pillai has deplored the speech, adding that party leaders should avoid making such inflammatory speeches.
It may be noted that the state BJP leaders had turned a scathing tongue against CPM leader M M Mani for admitting in a speech that the CPM had indulged in political murders. Action should be taken against Mani, the BJP leaders had thundered then. The same leaders are remaining tight-lipped now. Even BJP state president Kummanam Rajashekharan has kept mum so far.
Last but not the least, the State BJP has been at the receiving end of a searing attack on it by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The Sangh Parivar had threatened to prevent the Chief Minister from attending a harmony rally the CPM held in Mangaluru on Sunday. The BJP even observed a hartal on the day to protest against Vijayan’s presence at the ally. However, the CM participated in the rally, braving the Parivar threat and hartal.
The rally saw Vijayan launching a blistering attack against the RSS-BJP. In his speech, Pinarayi said Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin, Nathuram Godse was a mere weapon in the hands of the RSS. “The RSS distributed sweets after Gandhi’s assassination. The RSS was banned following a widespread uproar. Though the ban was lifted later, its policy of plarising people did not change. Why was the Mahatma killed? Did he attack any RSDS leader? The RSS has a history of betraying the nation,” thundered Vijayan. Kerala had become a strong secular state, thanks to the renaissance movement launched by Sree Narayana Guru and other leaders. Now the RSS-BJP is trying to enter the state and attacking the CPM to spread their communal ideology,” the Kerala CM added.
It was a robust reassertion of political will on the part of the Chief Minister to fight the fascist forces trying to dig in their heels in the secular state. Vijayan has made it clear that the stiff opposition to the RSS-BJP will not be confined to mere speeches. He has followed up the Mangaluru speech with another statement in the Kerala Assembly that the RSS ‘rule’ in certain temples in the state was totally unacceptable to the people of Kerala. The Government, Vijayan said, was in receipt of reports that the RSS was utilizing places of worship for armed training and storing weapons. In a clear message to the RSS-BJP, Vijayan said his government will bring in a legislation to put an end to such practices.
He also made it clear that the Government has taken Surendran’s statement admitting murders by the RSS-BJP very seriously.
Needless to say, the Chief Minister’s vigorous attack against the RSS-BJP has been welcomed by the secular-minded people and the minorities. Even leaders of IUML admit in private that such strong attacks against the fascist forces rearing their ugly heads in the stater were welcome. They expect the LDF Government to follow up the speeches with deterrent action against the fascist forces, they opine. (IPA)

Friday, 3 March, 2017