Danger from close ones
Posted on: 02 Jun 2012
There was once a king so fond of his pet monkey that he appointed the animal as his bodyguard. One day a fly buzzed around the king as he lay sleeping. The monkey could not swat it away, so he angrily picked up a sword and slashed away. The fly escaped; the sleeping king did not.
And Vishnu Sharma concludes the 'Nripasevakavanara-katha' with the observation, 'A king who seeks a long life should never keep foolish servants.'
Tradition says Vishnu Sharma composed the Panchatantra to teach the dullard princes Bahushakti, Ugrashakti, and Anantshakti some statecraft. Comrade Prakash Karat and Comrade Pinarayi Vijayan might, perhaps, consider lifting their noses out of the Marxist gospels long enough to benefit from the wisdom of an Indian text.
Didn't the C.P.I.(M) have enough trouble on its plate before Comrade M. M. Mani, the party's District Secretary in Idukki and a Pinarayi Vijayan loyalist, made the headlines even on Hindi news channels? Ably seconded, one must say, by P. Jayarajan, the C.P.I.(M) District Secretary in Kannur, another Pinarayi Vijayan follower.
The C.P.I.(M) was already under suspicion in the murder of T. P. Chandrasekharan. Big Brother's command of the Left Front was beginning to crack, a fact demonstrated when R. Selvaraj, the sitting C.P.I. M.L.A., quit the party, quit the L.D.F., and quit the Assembly to fight the Neyyatinkara seat again — but on a Congress ticket this time. And, of course, Comrades Karat and Vijayan faced the perennial problem of reining in V. S. Achuthanandan.
The battles with V. S. Achuthanandan and R. Selvaraj are political fights but metaphor turned into bloody reality when T. P. Chandrasekharan was hacked to death on 4 May, 2012. Suspicion immediately fell on the C.P.I.(M), the party that T. P. Chandrasekharan had left to found the Revolutionary Marxist Party.
The Special Investigation Team has now arrested P. P. Ramakrishnan, a member of the C.P.I.(M) area committee in Thalassery, and Abhinesh alias Abhi, 28, a C.P.I.(M) worker. Could the net be spread wider?
The C.P.I.(M) faces multiple investigations, with the C.B.I., the Special Investigation Team, and the Kerala Police pursuing different cases. It is said that as many as seventy to ninety C.P.I.(M) leaders are under the scanner, and that as many as thirty of these leaders are under imminent danger of being arrest. (Some, perhaps, are already in custody.) These C.P.I.(M) members may be district level, perhaps local level, leaders rather than those in the innermost circle but it points to a worrying trend.
The C.P.I.(M) organised a public meeting at Thodupuzha in a bid to wash away the stains caused by T. P. Chandrasekharan's murder. Comrade Mani then took the stage.
'Yes,' said M. M. Mani, 'We have killed the enemies of the C.P.I.(M). We have shot, stabbed, and beaten them to death. A hit-list of party enemies was prepared and each of them was executed in that order. The C.P.I.(M) will kill those who deserve to be killed.'
M. M. Mani then spoke of how the C.P.I.(M) 'avenged' the death of one of its workers, Ayyappa Das, by murdering a Congressman, Balu. From an 'enemies list' of thirteen people, M. M. Mani reportedly said, one was shot, one was stabbed, and a third was clubbed to death.
This, please remember, is not a confession made by a hired killer to the police behind closed doors. It is not an allegation levelled by the Congress. This was a public statement made by one of Pinarayi Vijayan's most fervent supporters.
How does this tie in with the murder of T. P. Chandrasekharan? According to M. M. Mani's logic, the C.P.I.(M) has never bothered to hide its violent side, and so if the party said that it was not involved in the Chandrasekharan assassination then it was indeed innocent!
[Being a Pinarayi Vijayan loyalist, Comrade Mani criticised V. S. Achuthanandan for attending T. P. Chandrasekharan's funeral; rebels, he said virtuously, can never be good Communists. Those in the know say M. M. Mani was once in the Achuthanandan camp; did the break come when the then Chief Minister started his demolition drive?]
The C.P.I.(M) apparently considers itself both judge and executioner. But in trying to absolve his party in the T. P. Chandrasekharan case hasn't M. M. Mani opened the door to investigating other murders?
Comrade Mani's colleague, P. Jayarajan, the aforementioned C.P.I.(M) District Secretary in Kannur, seemingly believes that such investigations are irrelevant anyhow.
On 22 October, 2006, Muhammad Fazal was murdered in Thalassery, a few days after he left the C.P.I.(M) ranks. The Central Bureau of Investigation says those involved include Karayi Rajan, a member of the C.P.I.(M)'s Kannur District Committee, and Karayi Chandrasekharan, who is in the Thiruvangad local committee.
Comrade Jayarajan insists that this does not matter. The C.P.I.(M)'s Kannur District Secretary says the party will protect its members rather than hand them over to the police. P. Jayarajan's position appears to be that the only investigation that counts is one made by the party itself.
Why bother to investigate at all? We have Comrade Mani's acknowledgment that, 'The party has a history of killing rivals.'
Prakash Karat and Pinarayi Vijayan are involved in all-too-public spats with the likes of V. S. Achuthanandan and R. Selvaraj. Frankly, they have less to fear from their rivals than from their allies, the C.P.I.(M) District Secretary in Idukki and the C.P.I.(M) District Secretary in Kannur.
As Vishnu Sharma could you have told them, the wise king chooses his guards carefully.
'There is no such thing,' the Irish writer Brendan Brehan once said, 'as bad publicity.' Many politicians live by that adage. Very few remember the codicil that Brehan added — 'except your own obituary.'
Comrade M. M. Mani and Comrade P. Jayarajan have certainly achieved a blaze of publicity. But have they just written the first paragraph of their own party's obituary?