The Punnapra Vayalar Smriti memorial was built to honour the Communists killed during a movement against Diwan CP Ramaswami Iyer in 1946.

A few persons stand before a red memorial one of them turning to take flowers a wreath is placed at the bottom of the memorialScreen grab of Sandeep Vachaspati's floral tribute
news Controversy Sunday, March 21, 2021 - 08:31

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday flayed a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate's act of paying floral tributes at the famous Punnapra Vayalar Smriti memorial in Alappuzha, jointly managed by the CPI(M) and the CPI, saying it was intended to destroy peace and harmony in the region.

"This should not have happened as the memorial is associated with the sentiments of the Communists. The aim of the BJP candidate was to destroy peace and harmony and provoke Left workers,” CM Pinarayi told reporters at Cheruthuruthyin Thrissur district.

"The candidate should not have done that. But CPI(M) workers kept their cool and I appreciate them for that,” he said.

The memorial, built to honour the Communists killed during their movement against the 'misrule' of Sir CP Ramaswami Iyer, the Prime Minister of erstwhile princely state of Travancore in 1946, is maintained by the CPI(M) and the CPI.

The BJP nominee from Alappuzha assembly constituency, Sandeep Vachaspati, had paid floral tributes and raised "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" slogan at the place on Friday.

The CPI(M) on Saturday expressed strong protest against the act of the BJP candidate, who "trespassed" into the memorial.

In a tweet, CPI(M) leader S Ramachandran Pillai said the act amounted to "insulting" the martyrs of the Punnapra Vayalar uprising and hurting the sentiments of those who rever the legacy of the struggle.

CPI district secretary TJ Anjalose had on Friday filed a police complaint against Vachaspati.

The BJP candidate said the memorial was the symbol of "the biggest betrayal" by Communist leaders who had fled the scene after forcing their innocent followers from Scheduled Castes and backward communities to face the guns of the Army.

CP Ramaswamy Iyer, who had opposed Travancore joining the Indian union, was forced to leave the kingdom as a result of the uprising in Punnapra Vayalar.

The Communists have alleged that hundreds were massacred by the military and henchmen of Travancore rulers, in alliance with "British imperialists" in Punnapra Vayalar.

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