Governor P Sathasivam’s remarks that the political killings in Kannur sullied the image of Kerala and that the leaders must be ready to bring their cadres to choose the path of peace, should be seen as his personal view of the law and order situation in the state.
It is clear from the Governor’s words that he chose the inauguration of Nishagandhi Dance Festival in the capital city for expressing his opinions, in the backdrop of the murder of ABVP worker near Peravur, Kannur. However, when he spoke on behalf of the LDF government during the policy address on Monday, he was compelled to say that some were carrying out baseless campaigns against Kerala on the state’s law and order situation.
During the policy address the Governor read: ‘Several campaigns were carried out against the state on both social and conventional media in the past year. Despite being a state with some of the best law and order indices in the country, a month long campaign was carried out across India, on certain flimsy grounds by some communal outfits.’ The statement could be seen as a mixture of truth and half-truth. Nobody can claim that the state has the best law and order situation. It is pointless to turn a blind eye towards the sad truth that horrifying violence and political murders have become an ‘inevitable part’ of Kerala’s social life. One cannot lose sight of the more serious side that the BJP and the CPM which bear the mark of national parties, have adopted the method of violence and bloodshed by sabotaging law and order as an acceptable practice. It is not difficult to comprehend that other than creating martyrs and aggravating the volatile atmosphere, neither side would gain anything.
We should expect that the respected Governor would surely accept the reality that the Sangh Parivar outfits are making planned moves at the national level to tarnish the image of Kerala. The ‘Kerala model’ which other states view with envy and respect, takes our standard of living and social and development gains on a par with the other developed countries, even amidst its limitations. If, in spite of that, even PM Modi has felt it fit to liken Kerala to Somalia, it can only be due to the grudge against Kerala’s firm secular conscience that shuts all doors against, and opposes tooth and nail , the Hindutva politics with its despicable ideology.
The Governor is believed to have absorbed the implication of the omitted sentence in the policy address that ‘there has not been any instance of communal riot in our state despite the plotting by certain communal outfits’. Unlike other states, though reports of communal outbreaks surface in the state, the fact cannot be brushed aside easily that attempts to ignite such flare-ups have been made in the backroom. When any supporter belonging to the Sangh Parivar is attacked or murdered, the BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan and other party leaders rush to the Raj Bhavan. But they maintain a silence or gleefully turns over the figures of retaliation, when any communist party worker or other political opponents lose their lives or are maimed at the hands of the RSS. We should reflect on to what extent this situation has been pulling the stage backward.
The government cannot sit with the comfort that it made the Governor read the lamentation raised in the policy speech thus: “During the past one year, there have been slanderous attacks on the secular traditions of our state, doubts thrown on our social sector achievements and vilification of the law and order situation.” One cannot help saying that political murders, and the hartals and countless tragedies following them, have frozen the conscience of the state, especially that of Kannur. It is against the fundamental rights of the people that political parties raise a challenge. Each murder and each hartal holds the common man to ransom. Who have given them the right to do that? If the image of Kerala has to improve, it is not enough to declare several development projects. The first requirement is to create an atmosphere for people to live peacefully. The governor’s concern in this regard is not out of place, but the first step has to be taken by the leaders of the country’s ruling party and their followers - to whom the language and idiom of mutuality are alien; a fact one hopes he, also as a former chief justice of the Supreme Court, will recognize.