Family members of 21 CPI (M) party members allegedly killed by RSS/ BJP activists in Kerala over the past 25 years gathered in protest outside the Raj Bhawan at Thiruvananthapuram.
The target of their anger was Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is in the state capital to meet the family of E Rajesh – an RSS worker hacked to death near Thiruvananthapuram on July 29. The protesters demanded to know why a Union Minister was only visiting the home of a murdered RSS worker and ignoring the families of other activists.
80-year-old Sarasamma, one of the protesters, demanded that the central government’s ministers should answer for the death of her son Ravendran in 1993, allegedly at the hands of RSS workers.
Sarasamma (second from right in the first row) during Balakrishnan's speech
“They were all acquitted by court. Now, after 24 years, we have still not received justice. I lost him when he was young, he was not even married. He was a sincere comrade, very helpful to the community, a good social worker. That is why they killed him. All of the accused were RSS men. Let the ministers at the Centre answer me for my loss," Sarasamma told TNM.
Anasuya speaking with the senior leader of CPI (M)
Anasuya, a 48-year-old protester from Kattakkada – who lost her brother Sreekumar in 2013 – said, "He (Sreekumar) had interfered against a blade mafia working in our area. He was a social worker. Whoever asked him help received it, irrespective of the party they belonged to. That blade mafia had RSS-BJP links. They killed him because he questioned their wrongdoings. The case is still going on. He had two kids and a wife, and was just 32 years old when he died. The BJP should answer why my brother's death is not important for them."
Joining the protesting family members were party activists as well as prominent CPI (M) leaders of the state. Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, CPI (M) state secretary was among those present at the protests on Sunday, and blamed the BJP and the RSS for political violence in the state.
The BJP has been claiming a steep rise in political violence against the BJP at the hands of the CPI (M). The issue was even raised in Parliament recently by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi. The CPI (M) has taken strong objection to the claim.
"Take the number of political murders that have happened over the last many years. When 527 CPI (M) members died, BJP lost 180. So who is unleashing violence here? The RSS/BJP killed a person who participated in the victory of Pinarayi Vijayan in the elections without any provocation,” Balakrishnan said.
“They killed Faisal from Kodinhi because he converted to Islam. They also hacked to death a Madrassa teacher in Kasaragod. All these happened without any provocation. Arun Jaitley should address all these issues. He is a Minister of the country, not of the RSS or BJP," Balakrishnan added.
Ahead of Jaitley’s visit, AK Ramya, the Panchayat President of Eranholi in Kannur, wrote an open letter to the Finance Minister, asking if he would visit her family as well, while he was in Kerala. Her husand, Sreejan Babu, was recently hospitalised after he was attacked allegedly by RSS workers.
According to crime records from the Kerala Police accessed by NDTV, there have been 172 political murders in Kerala in the last 17 years, with 85 CPI (M) workers and 65 RSS/BJP workers killed. However, it is is to be noted that most of these incidents are still in court, and it is unclear if the attackers were politically motivated in all cases.