In Kannur, RSS-BJP and CPI(M) have lost equal numbers to political violence

Over 16 years to 2016, 31 from the RSS and BJP were killed in the Northern Kerala district and 30 from the Left party, shows RTI data

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader Kundan Chandrawat – now relieved of his post as joint publicity chief in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh – holds Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) responsible for the death of “more than 300 RSS pracharaks (crusaders) and activists” in the state.

But over 16 years to 2016, the number of party workers killed from both sides in district of Kannur in North Kerala – a hotbed of such fighting – has been roughly equal: 31 from the RSS and Bharatiya Janata Party and 30 from the CPI(M), according to police data obtained by 101reporters.com through a right-to-information request.

The reply from the Kannur district police, dated November 16, 2016, said details of caste, religion and age were unavailable.

Between 2000 and 2016, Kannur reported 69 political murders. In 2016, the RSS-BJP tally of deaths of four in political clashes in Kannur was one more than the CPI(M)‘s three but in the 15 preceding years, both parties lost 27 supporters each to political violence.

Source: Kannur district police, in this Right-to-information reply
Source: Kannur district police, in this Right-to-information reply

While the scale of murders was greater during the reign of the CPI(M) in 2000 and between 2006 and 2011, the CPI(M) also reported more than or an equal number of victims of politically-motivated violence as the RSS-BJP.

In the Congress-led government’s term between 2001 and 2006, the RSS-BJP lost three more workers than the CPI(M). In its second term from 2011 to 2016, both parties reported four victims.

The district reported no political murders in 2003, while 2000 and 2008 were particularly violent, with the CPI(M) reporting 11 dead and the BJP-RSS reporting eight, according to police data.

Source: Kannur district police, in this Right-to-information reply
Source: Kannur district police, in this Right-to-information reply

Kannur, a hotbed

Kannur is considered to be a bastion of Kerala’s communist movement since the 1930s. Kerala Chief Minister Vijayan, a local, won his assembly seat from this district’s constituency of Dharmadom.

With a population of 2.5 million and a literacy rate of 85%, Kannur is said to be the state’s most violent territory – more so with the advent of the RSS in the 1960s, according to this Firstpost series from November 2016.

Last year, the much-publicised “revenge murder” of RSS-BJP activist K Ramith (mentioned as C Ramith in the RTI data), following the murder of CPM party leader K Mohanan, took place here, India Today reported in October 2016.

Kerala reported the third-highest number of murders (12) committed due to political reasons in 2015, the top two states being Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, according to 2015 National Crime Records Bureau data, the latest available. A quarter of these crimes were committed in Kannur alone.

On further analysis of the NCRB data, Fact Checker found that at least half of all politically-motivated murders in this state of 14 districts were reported from Kannur during the CPM’s last term, between 2006 to 2011, and one year of its term in 2000,

During the two terms of the Congress-led state government, 20%-30% of political murders reasons were from Kannur.

FactChecker contacted the Kerala Director General of Police’s office requesting district-wise information of data shared with the NCRB on political murders, but the DGP’s office denied the request, saying the office does not fall under the RTI and that such information was difficult to collate.

Source: Kannur district police, in this Right-to-information reply; National Crime Records Bureau
Source: Kannur district police, in this Right-to-information reply; National Crime Records Bureau

Crimes reported in Kerala have steadily risen over nearly a decade, according to state police data. From 252,408 cases reported in 2008, the police registered 707,541 cases in 2016, up almost two-fold.

Allegations and reactions

On March 1, at an RSS rally in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, protesting the killings by Marxists in Kerala, Chandrawat – sharing the stage with BJP Lok Sabha Member of Parliament Chintamani Malviya – offered to award his wealth and property to anyone who would bring him the Kerala chief minister’s head, a remark for which he was relieved of his responsibilities.


“Haven’t you killed 300 pracharaks and activists?” said Chandrawat. “We will offer a garland of three lakh human skulls to Bharat Mata, this is a warning to Leftists.”

Referring to the Godhra train-burning incident in 2002 and the Gujarat riots that followed, he also said: “Have you forgotten Godhra? Fifty six were killed, 2,000 were sent to the graveyard. They were pushed beneath the ground by the same Hindu community.”

Replying to the death threats, Vijayan said, “The Sangh Parivar has taken heads of several.”

A day after Chandrawat’s statement, Kerala state president of the BJP, Kummanam Rajasekharan, posted on Twitter a list of 12 RSS-BJP activists allegedly killed by CPI(M) in nine months since the party won the state elections in May 2016.

Chandrawat later retracted his statement, and the RSS has relieved him of “responsibilities” as sah prachar pramukh (joint publicity chief) in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh.

Thereafter, three RSS members were allegedly attacked by the CPI(M) on March 5. RSS leader Rakesh Sinha tweeted that Kerala is “in the state of anarchy.”

While condemning Chandrawat’s statements of violent retribution, the Kerala BJP said the party does stand by the sacked leader’s allegation that the CPI(M) government has been targeting RSS-BJP party workers and activists in the state since it came to power in May 2016.

“From the 1960 to 2016, the CPI(M) has killed 270 BJP-RSS party-workers,” R Sandeep, state media coordinator for BJP Kerala, told FactChecker on the telephone. “Vijayan himself is a murderer. He killed one of our party workers when he was a local CPM activist in the 1960s.”

Sandeep added, “The CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front government is targeting our RSS-BJP people because of the vital role we are playing in Kannur – their stronghold – which is probably the party’s strongest remaining point in India. They are provoked because we are putting up a decent fight.”

CPM leader Nilotpal Basu said the RSS claims were “absolutely false”.

“In fact, if you look at our CPM body count, it is more,” Basu told FactChecker over telephone from Delhi. “This is a concerted campaign by the RSS to destabilise governance in Kerala… the first incident of violence since we assumed power in 2016 happened the day after we won the elections when one of our own comrades was killed.”

“The RSS did this to provoke some kind of retaliation from the CPM and they continue to provoke violence and then charge the state government and administration for it. Not only do we have to suffer the loss of our comrades, we also have to deal with these allegations; but we will fight them,” he said.

This article first appeared on Fact Checker.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Watch Ruchir's journey: A story that captures the impact of accessible technology

Accessible technology has the potential to change lives.

“Technology can be a great leveller”, affirms Ruchir Falodia, Social Media Manager, TATA CLiQ. Out of the many qualities that define Ruchir as a person, one that stands out is that he is an autodidact – a self-taught coder and lover of technology.

Ruchir’s story is one that humanises technology - it has always played the role of a supportive friend who would look beyond his visual impairment. A top ranker through school and college, Ruchir would scan course books and convert them to a format which could be read out to him (in the absence of e-books for school). He also developed a lot of his work ethos on the philosophy of Open Source software, having contributed to various open source projects. The access provided by Open Source, where users could take a source code, modify it and distribute their own versions of the program, attracted him because of the even footing it gave everyone.

That is why I like being in programming. Nobody cares if you are in a wheelchair. Whatever be your physical disability, you are equal with every other developer. If your code works, good. If it doesn’t, you’ll be told so.

— Ruchir.

Motivated by the objectivity that technology provided, Ruchir made it his career. Despite having earned degree in computer engineering and an MBA, friends and family feared his visual impairment would prove difficult to overcome in a work setting. But Ruchir, who doesn’t like quotas or the ‘special’ tag he is often labelled with, used technology to prove that differently abled persons can work on an equal footing.

As he delved deeper into the tech space, Ruchir realised that he sought to explore the human side of technology. A fan of Agatha Christie and other crime novels, he wanted to express himself through storytelling and steered his career towards branding and marketing – which he sees as another way to tell stories.

Ruchir, then, migrated to Mumbai for the next phase in his career. It was in the Maximum City that his belief in technology being the great leveller was reinforced. “The city’s infrastructure is a challenging one, Uber helped me navigate the city” says Ruchir. By using the VoiceOver features, Ruchir could call an Uber wherever he was and move around easily. He reached out to Uber to see if together they could spread the message of accessible technology. This partnership resulted in a video that captures the essence of Ruchir’s story: The World in Voices.


It was important for Ruchir to get rid of the sympathetic lens through which others saw him. His story serves as a message of reassurance to other differently abled persons and abolishes some of the fears, doubts and prejudices present in families, friends, employers or colleagues.

To know more about Ruchir’s journey, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Uber and not by the Scroll editorial team.