New Delhi: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has called for a review of all ‘political’ cases, including murder, being faced by its members in Kerala. In response, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) has claimed that it’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governments that “fabricate” cases against their rivals.
The Sangh came out with the demand after the Kerala High Court on 12 July acquitted 13 RSS members of the murder of a CPI(M) worker in 2008. The court ordered the release of the arrested men, saying the police had miserably failed to prove their case.
“In the light of this judgement, all the cases filed by CPI (M) in which RSS-BJP were falsely accused and convicted, should be reviewed,” RSS central committee member J. Nandakumar told ThePrint.
“In multiple incidents, the Islamist moles in the state force provide tip-offs to the jihadis to murder RSS-BJP workers,” he claimed, adding that the Centre and the Supreme Court must intervene given the “grave situation” in Kerala.
Another senior Sangh functionary from the Kerala unit said that there were hundreds of such cases running against the RSS members, and that the trials had been going on “forever”.
In the case mentioned above, CPI(M) branch committee member Vishnu was hacked to death in broad daylight in front of a passport office in Thiruvananthapuram on 1 April 2008. The arrested men were booked on various charges, including criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly, rioting, and murder. In 2016, a trial court convicted 13 RSS workers in the case.
Political violence is endemic to Kerala, and claims victims from the CPI(M), the RSS and other groups. On 15 April, Subair, an activist of the Islamist organisation Popular Front of India (PFI) was hacked to death at Elappully in Palakkad district. The next day, activists of the PFI and its political wing, the Social Democratic Party of India, allegedly murdered RSS worker S. K. Srinivasan at Melamuri in the same district.
CPI(M) leader and Rajya Sabha MP Elamaram Kareem called the Sangh reaction “political and natural”. “The RSS and the CPI(M) have been arch rivals for decades. They will always call these cases against their members false and fabricated. This is a court judgment. I don’t want to comment. But it is primarily the BJP governments in states and the one at the Centre that fabricate cases. We don’t,” he told ThePrint.
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Court laid bare ‘bloody’ politics
In its judgment, the bench of Justices K. Vinod Chandran and C. Jayachandran minced no words in lambasting the political violence in the state.
“Political rivalry is a simmering cauldron of intrigue, spite and deceit, often spewing out the venom of hatred, in the form of mindless bloodshed,” the bench said.
The high court came down heavily on the role of police as it found witnesses were “cherry-picked” and “tutored” in the case.
“We see an overzealousness on the part of the investigating and prosecuting agency. The cherry-picked witnesses speak with precision on every minute aspect, unmindful of the disbelief it evokes. It’s time that we express a caution, that the version of a witness, however exhaustive, extensive and precise the same be, is of no avail, unless it is believable and trustworthy. The conspiracy is nonsensical and the witnesses are clearly tutored,” it observed.
The judges went on to comment on how the cycle of violence leaves irreparable damage, saying that the “sad saga of political rivalry and mindless killing” tears “the social fabric of the state”.
“The yearly remembrances only stoke the fires of rivalry and do not wipe the tears of the bereaved or awaken the conscience of those who matter,” they added.
Referring to the court order in the Vishnu murder case, Nandakumar said the acquittal of the RSS workers showed how state instruments were allegedly used to target the Sangh.
“The Marxist party, using its ‘Red’ police, prosecutes the innocent using cooked-up evidence while protecting the party’s murderers, goons and smugglers. On the one hand, RSS-BJP workers are being falsely accused; on the other hand CPI(M) criminals go scot-free due to the compromised policing system,” he claimed.
Congress state chief K. Sudhakaran told ThePrint that there was always a “political conspiracy” in every “political murder”. “Every time an RSS or a BJP worker is accused of a political murder, they say the same thing (political conspiracy). We can say similar things about them, too,” he asserted.
(Edited by Tony Rai)
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