If the Kannur district in Kerala is more or less a constant battleground drawn between the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Sangh Parivar groups, Nadapuram -a town located on the Kozhikode border is infamous for the CPI(M)’s perennially violent conflict with the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML).
Kozhikode rural SP N Vijayakumar has ordered a curfew under the Kerala Police Act 78 and 79 in the Nadapuram area for the next four days, as political tension was unleashed in the area, after a march by the Muslim Youth League on Thursday turned violent.
The past three days saw many houses, vehicles and shops being burnt, with almost 12 cases registered in Nadapuram alone. The neighbouring villages of Kuttiyadi and Valayam have even more cases piled up.
The protest march was held seeking the arrest of suspects in the Aslam -IUML worker- murder case. The League alleges that the CPI(M) is behind the murder.
Media reports allege that the Aslam murder is linked to the killing of 19-year old Kuneri Shibin –a CPI(M) activist- who was allegedly murdered by a ten-member gang of IUML workers at Thuneri near Nadapuram on January 22, 2015. Aslam was an accused in the Shibin murder case and was later acquitted by a lower court.
It was in June this year that the Special Additional Sessions Court set free all the 17 accused in the Shibin murder case. Aslam was however murdered on August 12, reportedly by CPI(M) workers.
It all began in the year 2000, when P Santhosh -a DYFI (the Left party’s youth wing) worker- was killed by IUML activists. The very next day, Thayyullathil Moosa Haji -a 68-year old IUML sympathizer- was murdered in retaliation.
Later in June 2001, the National Development Front (NDF) -another Muslim organisation- alleged that E Binu -a CPI(M) worker- had raped a Muslim woman. Binu was killed, but it was later proved that the rape case was a fabricated one.
Till date, there have been five political killings in Nadapuram. The past 16 years of political violence witnessed by Nadapuram has now -to some extent- turned into communal violence.
Loot and destruction of properties
Nadapuram has suffered a massive loss of infrastructure running into crores of rupees over the years, due to this never-ending cycle of violence. Numerous houses, vehicles and properties are burnt down after each murder by the political rivals.
As per official police records, around 600 rioting cases have been registered in Nadapuram, Kuttiyadi, Thanur and Valayam in the past 16 years. In 2015, the state government allotted Rs 6 crores as compensation for those whose properties were destroyed in the ensuing violence in Nadapuram.
After the Shibin murder, a massive riot took place, and almost hundred Muslim houses were either attacked or burnt down. The houses of the accused in the Shibin murder case were specifically targeted and looted.
Amidst the continuing violent ruckus, there are also reports of how burglary tends to increase during these troubled times.
“Gold, cash and other valuable items will suddenly go missing when these bouts of violence break out. There are quite a few gangs who cash in on this opportunity,” says Nadapuram Sub Inspector Rajesh, while speaking to The News Minute.
The violence in Kannur is purely political. Nadapuram has a tinge of communalism added. “Here, Thiyyas and the Ezhavas (Hindu sub-castes) are supported by the CPI(M) while IUML acts solely on behalf of the Muslims,” says a Kannur politician, who did not wish to be named.
A senior police officer who had earlier done a stint in Kozhikode too testifies to the fact, that what happens in Nadapuram is more communal than political in nature. “It has now become a fight between a lower-caste Hindu and a Muslim. All political backing is purely namesake,” the officer opines.
Majority of the political leaders though, especially those belonging to the CPI(M), are quick to rule out the communal element in these conflicts. P Mohanan -CPI(M) Kozhikode district secretary blames the IUML for the spread of such baseless rumours in order to project the Left party as anti-Muslim.
“It is a tactic the IUML resorts to, so as to prevent the masses from knowing that their party is the one responsible for the political crisis Nadapuram finds itself in today. The IUML is the protector of only upper-class Muslims. On the other hand, the CPI(M) is not against any caste or religion. We stand for the welfare of poor,” Mohanan reiterates to TNM.
CK Subair -Muslim Youth League leader who hails from Nadapuram- is however quick to return the blame: “Aslam was acquitted by the court, yet the CPI(M) sought to punish him for mere political mileage. Violence has always been their trademark. They are unhappy, as they know that the IUML has brought in a lot of economic growth among Muslims here.”
Both the parties are but unsure when the current imbroglio will come to an end. “The truth is, even the state leaders of both the parties have no control over what is happening at Nadapuram,” a political leader from Kozhikode -who sought anonymity- told TNM.
“Every other day, someone or the other from either the IUML or CPI(M) will get stabbed or be involved in a brawl or attack. We do our maximum to rein in the violence control,” shares a senior police officer posted in the district.
“But you must understand that their leaders ought to play an important role in keeping their workers under control, which sadly they are not able to do,” he rues.