BJP chief Amit Shah lashed out at chief minister Pinayari Vijayan and accused the senior CPM member of being directly responsible for the violence. Launching a campaign against the “political killings” of BJP-Sangh workers in Kerala on Tuesday,
“The bloodstains of more than 120 BJP and RSS workers killed in political violence in Kerala are on your (Vijayan’s) clothes. You are directly responsible for killing of CPM’s opponents,” Shah said at the beginning of a 14-day ‘Jan Raksha Yatra’ from Payyanur, seen as a Left stronghold. Kannur, the site of particularly bloody clashes, is the CM’s home district.
The yatra slogan, “All have to live! Against jihadi-red terror”, is politically provocative and reflects the BJP narrative that Left and Islamist extremists have joined hands against the Modi government.
It also underlines the charge that non-BJP governments like in Kerala do not act against Islamist fundamentalism, and is part of BJP’s efforts to boost its profile and electoral prospects in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Recalling the contributions of renowned social reformers from Kerala like Sri Narayana Guru, Adi Shankaracharya and Chattambiswamikal, Shah said the region had historically been peace-loving. The trend of enlightened reform, he added, had been corrupted by CPM, which had “targeted its political adversaries”.
“Violence was not the culture of Kerala but CPM has spoiled the state. The chief minister himself is responsible, as 84 BJP and RSS cadres have been killed in his home district of Kannur,” Shah said. Thousands thronged the venue from where the march was launched.
He alleged that wherever the communists had been in office, like Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura, they indulged in political violence against critics and political adversaries. Shah also attacked human rights activists who criticised deaths at UP hospitals, including one in Gorakhpur, the hometown of CM Yogi Aditya Nath, for being selective. “Activists attacked BJP after deaths in a few hospitals in north India, but they have been silent about political killings in Kerala. Your (activists) silence raises questions about your allegiance. I want to ask the champions of human rights, why have you closed your eyes to red terror? Let me remind you, violence has no colour,” Shah said.
After offering prayers at a temple, Shah met families of the cadres killed. “I met some families who have lost all male members at the hands of communist goons. Let me reassure all who have suffered, your sacrifices will not go in vain as 11 crore party workers are with you,” he said.
Shah said BJP members from across the country would visit the state and take part in the march against political violence. There will be a “satyagraha” in each state capital in the next 15 days to express solidarity with BJP workers from Kerala. “We shall continue fighting through peaceful means and I assure BJP cadres that the lotus will certainly bloom in Kerala and the party will form government in the state,” he said.
Shah walked with supporters for 8 kilometres as part of the yatra, and will be in the state for the next two days. The yatra will culminate in Thiruvananthapuram on October 17.