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Communities on political chessboard

Communities on political chessboard

It was nothing but natural that the decision of the Congress to part with the Rajya Sabha seat, which the UDF is sure to win, for Kerala Congress has raised a political storm within the Congress party in Kerala.

Anybody familiar with the history of Congress is unlikely to feel any surprise in this. And it would also be out of place if any one expects that the current hullabaloo will wreck the party. For, it is through such internal conflicts that the party sustains its very vibrance. Therefore, probably the people at large will not have much concern about that wrangling either. It does not contain any factor of concern that may seriously affect the state or its people. At the same time, a statement made in this connection by former KPCC President VM Sudheeran needs to be given special attention. What he said after walking out of the KPCC meeting mid-way and addressing the media persons is that the Congress decision is one that will strengthen the BJP. Close on the heels of this, certain other Congress leaders also did put forward similar opinion. Then came the reaction from yet other Congress leaders that the decision will result in the majority community keeping away from Congress. On the whole, the message sought to be aired by those who oppose the decision of forsaking the RS seat in favour of Mani group, amounts to this: there is going to be a fissure in the communal relations of Kerala; the majority community is going to suffer losses against the organized minority.

The incident in Edathala, Aluva of June 5th in which a youth named Usman was subjected to police torture, caused a huge uproar in the Assembly the next day. The Opposition who viewed it as a continuation of the police atrocities going unabated, raised strong criticism against the chief minister and the home department. The Congress MLA from Aluva Anwar Sadat also introduced an emergency motion in the house. But the speech made by the chief minister in reply to the motion was one that contained dangerous auguries. The incident was a case of the police hitting a youth and breaking his jawbone following a minor dispute about two vehicles rubbing against each other. But instead of ruthlessly rejecting the police action, what the chief minister chose to do was to lend the incident a communal complexion. The reason for his portrayal of the whole incident as an entirely extremist attack was that one among those who protested at the police action was an accused in the Kalamassery bus-burning case. (And that accused was a close relative of the tortured Usman). In other words, hearing the speech of the chief minister one would get the impression that the police torture was a pre-emptive step against the possibility of the extremist participating in the ensuing protest! In the course of his speech, he also made the much controversial pronouncement that Aluwa is not a sovereign republic.

It has become a pattern with the CPM for the recent period to harp on 'extremists' even in any trivial or minor issue. The propensity of that party and the government has been to view even the agitations carried out by the people evicted for GAIL project and national highway expansion, as extremist attacks. The party has developed a knack of placing any social collective or strikes involving Muslims in any manner, under the sole perspective of 'extremism'. The disenchantment of Congress partymen with the decision to gift the RS seat to Mani group is understandable. One can also understand the difficulties that popular agitations against development policies and protests against the police may cause to the government and the CPM. But for overcoming such difficulties, it is quite improper to adopt a position that can spoil the very communal relations. The narrative that Kerala is a breeding ground of extremism is a campaign of the Sangh parivar at the national level. The intervention of the chief minister and the CPM are of the kind that lends credence to that campaign.

'Minorities grab everything' is also a main plank of the polarizing propaganda of Sangh pariwar. The propaganda campaign was intensified after Muslim League asked for a fifth ministerial post during the last UDF rule. A faction of Congress and the left both were in the forefront of the campaign. And that grew to a hysteria when some corners went on to say that green boards used in school classrooms showed the domination of minorities in the state. None was unaware of green boards being used in class room across the globe. However, many, even the left, went on with the campaign. All was part of a game to reap maximum political gains at the time. Unfortunately, they were oblivious of the fact that such campaign would tear apart the social security and healthy communal relations of the state. They are indirectly becoming party to the effort to destabilize the country with narrow and wicked aims.

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