Kerala, though relatively a small state, has been regarded as an important society by the Sangh Parivar. Even before it made inroads into several North Indian states, the ideological mentor of the Sangh Parivar has tried to penetrate into the political minds of Malayalees. There would be several reasons for this. But primarily it might be because of the presence two ideological groups which are antithetical to Sangh has a significant presence in the state. The religious minorities and the Communists. If they conquer Kerala, then it would be of symbolic victory for Sangh Parivar.
After the Gujarat carnage and the ascendency of Naredra Modi, RSS claims its presence in Kerala has multiplied. A PTI report carried by Times Of India last month says Left-ruled Kerala accounts for maximum number of RSS shakhas, over 5,000 among all its 'prants'(regions), and the number is rising, quoting a Sangh office bearer.
Even Gujarat, the state which is seen as a stronghold of both Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and BJP, has only around 1,000 shakhas, which are the daily morning meetings of its members.
Their efforts found success when for the first time in the history of Kerala the party won an Assembly seat. Not only that, they were able to increase their vote share significantly to more than 15 percent. In many Assembly constituencies, BJP candidates came second shows that they are now a significant electoral player in Kerala politics, which till dominated by the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front and Congress led Unitied Democratic Front.
After the CPI(M) came to power in the state and the Congress unable to come out of woods after the electoral debacle, the BJP sees the right moment for it to forge ahead. And it is natural for a party to make use of the available circumstances.
Going by BJP’s modus operandi two things stand out. They tried to present themselves as ‘the victims of bloodthirsty politics of CPI(M). RSS and its affiliates marketed the alleged CPI(M) ‘violence’ against political opponents even at the national level. The propaganda machinery of the BJP and RSS has been hugely successful. Prominent national dailies carried stories after stories about the ‘violence perpetrated’ by CPI(M). These reports did not care to mention or elaborate the role of RSS in political killings in the state.
Another method, which they tried several times across the country which is very close to Sangh ideology is fomenting religious animosity. This strategy in Kerala has gained momentum in recent times and seems to have reached its zenith now. The involvement of RSS cadres in the killing of two Muslims youths in the state recently is the manifestation of this strategy.
These two youths — Faisal and Riyaz Moulavi — were not killed because of their political allegiances, but owing to their religious beliefs. The places where this murders took place is also important. Faisal a neo convert to Isalm was killed in Kodhini in Malappuram district. This is the only Muslim majority district in Kerala. Two days back, the Madrassa teacher Riyaz Moulavi was killed in Kasargod district, another town where Muslims have significant presence. People arrested in these murders are RSS workers. And these killings smacks their agenda to instil fear in the minds of minorities and provoke them to retaliate.
But fortunately, so far, no untoward incident has taken place. The conspiracy hatchers of these murders might have thought that the presence of some organisations which are notorious for chopping off a hand of college teacher for charges of insulting Prophet Muhammed would make their task cut out. But for some protest, nothing has happened, though the situation is tense in Kasargod.
But how did Kerala’s mainstream media react to these incidents? Under the grab of being responsible, they did not delve into the details of this case. The media policy seems to be to put under carpet subjects which may spark communal polarisation. Perhaps, inadvertently they do it meticulously when Muslims are the victims. The reaction of Kerala media and civil society, when six people belonging to Muslim community were killed in police firing in Beemappally 2009, did not invoke the kind of reaction such incidents would usually be elicited.
Leave media, even the political reactions to these incidents have also been muted. Political organisations and civil society activists who used to jump the gun whenever a case involving Marxists surface, kept silent when these two grotesque murders happened. It is an irony that the Madrassa teacher was brutally killed by RSS men at a time when the saffron organisation in its conference at Coimbatore was deliberating on the violence unleashed by Marxists in Kerala.
This has not the first time that RSS is trying to trigger communal animosity in the state. The role of RSS in the communal riot in the northern city of Thalassery has been documented in the Vithayathil committee report which investigated the matter.
“ In Tellicherry the Hindus and Muslims were living as brothers for centuries. The Mopla riot did not affect the cordial relationship that existed between the two communities in Tellicherry. It was only after RSS and Jan Sangh set up their units and began activities in Tellicherrry that there came a change in the situation. There anti Muslim propaganda its reaction on the Muslims who rallied round their communal organisation, the Muslim League which championed their cause and the communal tension that followed prepared the background for their disturbances,”
Are the recent murders involving RSS suggest that they are resorting to the same old method of polarising people in order to make political gain? Maybe, the involvement of Sangh parivar organisations in various communal riots in different parts of the country also tells about their modus operandi. Kerala has resisted that so far. But the silence of civil society and the media and their selective responses to violence do not portends well for a plural society.