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Snapshot

Are the Tanur riots a curtain raiser to the by-election in Malappuram which CPM is aspiring to win by turning on their Islamist allies?

Kerala is a den of political violence. The recent conflicts between the Communists and the Muslim League have stirred the coastal village of Tanur in the district of Malappuram. The clashes started with stone pelting on the 13 March, 10 pm. This intensified with direct assaults, vandalism and torching of houses. The police had to open fire to disperse the mobs. Scores of houses were burned down, vehicles destroyed and property worth lakhs of rupees were charred to ashes in the riots.

The rioters did not even spare birds. 63 pigeons were charred to death during the attacks. Innocent people are leaving their homes due to fear of criminals.

What does Tanur mean for the Communists?

Tanur is one of the main areas which had witnessed hounding of Hindus and Christians in the Malabar riots of 1921. Once, the fishermen community of the area was Hindu, who were eliminated slowly and systematically. Currently, only Muslim families live along the beachside of Tanur. The region also has been a stronghold of the Muslim League.

Since the new Vijayan regime took over, Tanur has turned out to be a nightmare for Kerala state where law and order has anyway remained in shambles. The persecution of poor Muslims of Tanur is a well thought out strategy of the Marxists. On one side they are eager to satisfy the intentions of the radical outfits, and on the other hand, they dream of diminishing the presence of IUML in Malabar.

What is the Communist attitude towards radical Islamism in Kerala?

The Marxist party has traditionally been supporting radical Islamisation. The colouring of Mappila riots as freedom movement, creating Malappuram district for Muslims, support to Saddam Hussein, their friendship with the radical Muslim leader, Madani and their political affiliations with Jama'at Islami and the Popular Front is well known.

Moplahs are the Muslims of Malabar from an Arab descent. The first set of Islamic invasion in Kerala was by the army of Mysore under Hyder Ali and later his son Tipu. Numerous temples were demolished, and over 400,000 Hindus forcefully converted to Islam. Since then, there has been regular but isolated attacks and raids by Moplahs in Malabar. Responding to the call of Gandhiji, Indian Muslims joined the Khilafat movement against the policy of the British empire towards the Ottomans. What had started as a movement against the British Empire, ended as a violent jihad against the Hindus of Malabar.

The following words of Annie Besant bust the myth of the Moplah riots being an agrarian revolt against the Upper-class landlords. "Two Pulayas the lowest of the submerged classes were captured with others and given a choice between Islam and Death. These, the outcast of Hinduism, the untouchables, so loved the Hinduism which had been so unkind a step-mother to them, that they chose to die Hindus rather than to live Muslim. May the God of both, Muslim and Hindus send his messengers to these heroic souls, and give them rebirth into the faith for which they died.”

Dr B.R. Ambedkar called the Moplah riot an “inhuman uncontrolled savagery”, and Gandhiji mourned that his Muslim brothers “had gone mad”. A report on the riot by the Kozhikode District Congress Committee stated that “Hindu men, women and children were slain for the sole reason of being kafirs”. Later, the Communists painted the Moplah riots as peasant revolts and rewarded the participants of the riots with freedom fighters pensions.

In 1969, the United Front ministry of E.M.S. Namboodiripad carved out a new, predominantly Muslim District of Malappuram to please the Muslim League for their political support by redrawing the borders of Kozhikode and Palakkad districts. Even today various circles criticise this move as 'the illegitimate child of the old Two Nation theory,'. As the new Malappuram-this 'Moplastan' area includes mainly those taluks where Moplah riots took place in 1921.

The Communists always struggled to make inroads to the Muslim-majority Malappuram even though they are very active in the northern Kerala. So to break the Muslim consolidation under Muslim League, the CPM mollycoddled with the more radical sections of Muslims. Elections were fought showing Yassir Arafat and Saddam Hussein on billboards rather than on local issues. The Marxists love for the PDP leader, and a key accused in the 2008 Bangalore bombings case also was aimed at the Muslim votes. This unholy alliance between the Marxists and the extremist elements did have an effect on the radicalisation of sections of the minority community. Never to forget, Kerala's role even in recruiting for the IS.

There have been several instances where the accused attempted to fuel a communal riot by planting misleading evidence at the crime scenes. In the murder of the ex-CPM activist Mohammed Fasal, they placed a 'Trishul' near the body to link the crime to RSS. On another instance, the killers had pasted a sticker with Arabic scripture on the vehicle they went to butcher T P Chanrashekharan in so that the inquiry could be diverted to some jihadi outfits. In both cases, the accused turned out to be CPM activists.

Dear media, will you please stand up?

The media which seldom finds itself away from stories of global Muslim oppression is also silent here. They have been keeping a studied silence on the communal as well as the political riots in Kerala. Although Kerala has a consistent record of the highest rate of riot cases in India, the narrative seldom sees the light in the mainstream Indian media. As always, the Marxists operated their machinery to cover up the tears of innocent minority fishermen of Tanur too. Though Tanur is part of the Ponnani constituency, unrest in Malappuram district can create ripples in the upcoming Lok Sabha by-polls in the Malappuram constituency, where after the death of E Ahamed, CPM wishes to seize the flag of the Muslim majority district. The larger question is whether the Tanur riots are a curtain raiser to Malappuram by-polls which CPM is hoping to win by polarising the vote banks on communal lines.

What media tries to hide here is the double standards of the Communists. On one side, the Marxists seek to portray themselves as the saviours of the minorities and on the other, they lead riots against the same community. Though the legislative assembly saw a bitter war of words between the Chief Minister Vijayan and the leaders of the Muslim League, both fronts oblige to play it down as it might end up exposing their fake secular narrative. However, the issue has led to a huge rift within CPM cadres as the police try to nab the rioters.

The Communists have excelled in the nefarious political process which allows the political mafia to use religion and violence to maintain a vote bank by instilling fear on the gullible poor. In the nine months of Pinarayi Vijayan government, Kerala has not known a moment of peace. However, it is futile to expect any ‘award wapsi’, or intolerance debate over the exodus of poor fishermen families of Tanur. Unfortunately, they happened to be Muslims who are of no use to the Communist politicos.