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Anti-Muslim atrocities in Nadapuram
By Mukundan C. Menon, Trivandrum
Body of Modiu Haji (left) and the ‘liberated’ village Mosco
|My house was attacked by a group of rowdies, bomb was thrown causing huge damage, 45 sovereign gold and Rs. 25,000 were looted, and my wife and 10-year old daughter were raped…. A lady staying in the house with her small children were attacked during day time.
Police registered the case, but none was arrested. These things are happening in our democratic India (that too) in Kerala where people talk about 100% literacy’ -- wrote K. Ahmed (not real name) from Dubail, where he works, in a complaint to the DGP of Kerala on January 21, 20001. The complaint, copy of which was forwarded to this correspondent, bear the signature and official stamp of the Indian Consul in Dubai, J. K. Khurana, testifying that it was signed before him after verifying the complainant’s passport.
The complaint, seeking arrests of the culprits, named three persons, among the 20 people who attacked the house, as responsible for the rape : E. Binu, s/o Kelappan; K.P.P. Babu, s/o Chathu; and K. Suresh, s/o Kannan. Earlier, the victim lady named 15 people, including the rapists, in her complaint to Nadapuram police in Kozhicode district of Kerala. But, none was arrested . Reason? All of them belong to the ruling CPM in Kerala. Chief Minister E. K. Nayanar promised that all those who were indulged in violence at Nadapuram, which witnessed three murders last month, would be arrested before February 2nd. However, at the time of filing this report on February 7th, none of the accused in the rape case was booked, and many of those who indulged in other acts of violence remain scot-free.
Nadapuram in Kozhicode district borders with neighbouring Kannur district, the focal centre of unabated RSS-CPM violence for the past 15 years. Justifying its role in Kannur violence, the CPM used to claim that they were protecting the Muslim minorities from Sangh Parivar fascist threat. However, the CPM-RSS violence in Kannur was limited to only murders and retaliatory killings with either side refraining from attacking houses, looting, arson, and raping women. Nadapuram, on the other hand, had witnessed all these. That majority of the victims in Nadapuram were Muslims irrespective of party affiliations, and all the major culprits were Hindus belonging to CPM and DYFI itself paints an altogether different picture unknown in Kerala. Although majority of the Muslim victims were sympathizers of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the fact that Muslims supporting even CPM and other LDF parties like Janata Dal and NCP were not spared from attacks speaks volumes of the blind anti-Muslim psyche deep-rootedly erected among the CPM rank and file in and around Nadapuram area.
And, this has its own history. Traditionally, leading Muslims in Nadapuram were landlords supporting IUML while the labourers were mostly backward Thiyyas who aligned with CPM and CPI. The class animosity projected by CPM had, therefore, been always directed against individual Muslim landlords. CPM’s taking lead role to oppose the introduction of Muslim Personal Law in mid-1980s had sharpened the Hindu-Muslim divide in Nadapuram between CPM and IUML. Nadapuram also witnessed prolonged agitations by CPM, including indefinite sit-in agitations in front of Muslim houses, in the name of seeking alimony to estranged wives of some individual Muslims in the area. Demands of CPM controlled-labour wing on behalf of coconut pluckers also led to disputes with individual Muslim landlords. Because of the Gulf boom, practically every house in Nadapuram has somebody working in Middle-East, which kept-up their financial resources.
On the other hand, because of the recent recession in agriculture and declined price of coconuts, the labourers were not getting enough work and wages. This economic recession had adversely affected the local CPM coffins. It spells the motivation for the widespread looting during the violence. Since male members are mostly away, most of the houses have only women, children or old-aged persons to guard their wealth and property. Evidently, the attackers utilised this vulnerability to their maximum advantage to indulge in atrocities ranging from looting to rape.
Predictably, the most jubilant ones at Nadapuram were the BJP leaders. Scores of them visited Nadapuram area, accusing CPM, with an eye to corner Muslims’ sympathy. Union Minister of State for Railways managed to despatch a three-member team of Minorities Commission, comprising John Joseph, V. K. Dhar and M. S. Sokhanda, to Nadapuram. After visiting Nadapuram on February 5-6, they said that a detailed report would be submitted to the Union Government at Delhi within a week. The NDF called upon the Muslims of Nadapuram to boycott the Minority Commission because of the presence of John Joseph, known for his pro-BJP leanings and activities. The Church leaders in Kerala always viewed John Joseph with utmost suspicion, especially due to his pro-Sangh Parivar stands in the anti-Xian attacks in North India. This was why Joseph’s attempts to ensure meeting of all Christian Bishops with Prime Minister Vajpayee at Kumarakom in December failed to materialize. According to NDF, although a section of CPM in Nadpuram was responsible for the atrocities, the Muslims should not support people like John Joseph to take pro-BJP mileage out of it. The NDF warning was reflected in O. Rajagopal’s statement before the arrival of Minority Commission members at Nadapuram : ‘The Commission’s visit to the state for collecting evidence on the recent communal riots at Nadapuram is a shame for CPM, which claims itself as the champion of the minority communities. The Nadapuram communal violence is the first incident in Kerala’s history from where several minority community families were forced to flee due to the violence unleashed by