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Editorial
Who's being selective?
Jaitley's dig at intellectuals is misplaced as Kerala statistics reveal the larger picture of both CPM and RSS accused of murdering each other's activists
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Union minister Arun Jaitley's rebuff to the Indian intelligentsia, nagging them what he called "complete silence" on the "continuing saga of violence in Kerala" is based on misrepresentation of facts and the bid to obliterate difference between political and communal murders. During his recent visit to Kerala, where he visited the home of the slain RSS worker Rajesh Edavakode alleged to have been brutally killed by Left workers, Jaitley slammed the ruling CPI(M) in Kerala for the political violence in the state, accusing it of using its cadres to eliminate rival party workers. The BJP has been raising much hue and cry maintaining that 10 RSS workers have been killed this year. This shocking fact and the condemnable murders cannot be disputed. But such facts have been selectively hand-picked to overshadow and camouflage the entire picture. The killings of RSS and BJP workers are as true as the murders of CPI (M) cadres or other political organizations, allegedly by the RSS activists. Figures speak for themselves. According to one media report quoting police records, details of every political murder between 2000 and 2017 impugn both the political fronts in Kerala. In the last 17 years, 85 CPM workers, 65 RSS or BJP workers, 11 workers of Congress and IUML each have been killed - mostly by their political rivals including CPM and RSS or BJP. If police statistics reveal 10 RSS men were killed this year, they also show that 4 CPM men were killed and another, stabbed brutally last month is battling for life in a hospital. CPM leaders aver that 13 members of their party have been killed in the last one year. These statistics are chilling indicators of the shocking levels of political violence taking place in Kerala for years, for which both RSS and CPM are responsible. If numbers are the yardstick, then more murders are alleged to have been committed by the RSS than the CPM. In this particular state where the state ironically famed for its nickname 'God's own country', RSS and CPM who have turned the political battlefield into a bloody battle appear to be chips of the same block. In recent decades, both sides play the victim card after each killing of their cadre members and maintain convenient silence when a political worker of the opponent camp is killed. After each killing, tardy investigation and delayed trials mark most cases. One of the media reports points out to the dark under-belly of Kerala's politics, pointing out that both RSS and CPM exploit poor masses and use them as hired guns and both tap into caste politics to perpetuate violence. Fresh trends have also revealed that criminal gangs are now being employed to attack adversaries. The report also mentions that despite lot of noise being created by both sides with their respective claims to victimhood, there are no support groups or party mechanisms to address the emotional trauma and grief of the survivors and families of victims.

These shocking trends from Kerala's political battlefield are shocking and arouse concern. They required a person of the stature of Jaitley to rise above party politics and take a holistic view of the murders. He is after all minister for the entire country, not just RSS-BJP. By choosing to selectively speak only for the victims of his own party, he is not only misleading the nation, he is also exposing his hypocrisy. Those who cherry-pick their concern for violence have no business taking the high moral ground to sermonize about selectiveness to others. Jaitley's remarks reveal that his obvious intended target was not the CPM or any other political group but the intellectuals of the country who have been outraged over increasing intolerance to dissent and have been forced to come out on the streets to protest the many cases of lynchings of Muslims and Dalits by saffron brigade activists in the name of cow protection. None of the intellectuals have either gone into denial over the killings of RSS workers or justified it but to expect similar outrage for killings which are part of a larger trend of ugly political vendetta is unfair. Both evoke concern but the two are incomparable, not only because of dissimilar genesis of violence and the unequal power equations but also because the government, of which Jaitley is a part, has failed to acknowledge enough the cow-protection related lynchings much less take action in those cases.


News Updated at : Friday, August 11, 2017
 
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