It was on this day, six years ago (May 4, 2012) that T. P. Chandrasekharan was murdered in cold blood by Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)). In what is perhaps the most chilling of political killings of Kerala, the founder of Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) was stabbed 51 times by the assailants who were all later found to be linked to CPI(M) as suspected. He was 51.
T. P. Chandrasekharan (TP), was a member of CPI(M). In 2009, he left the party due to difference of opinion and formed a political party by the name Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) in his birthplace, Onchiyam in Kozhikode district of Kerala. RMP became popular in the area and villages around it under the leadership of TP and he led the party to victory in the local polls in Onchiyam and nearby villages.
TP’s leaving and the formation of the new party was a big blow to CPI(M). In 2009, Chandrasekharan contested Lok Sabha elections under his new party banner from Vadakara. Even though he did not win, this tactics led CPI(M) to defeat for the first time in 32 years.
Right after TP was killed and the opposition and the people of Kerala were seeking answers from CPI(M), Pinarayi Vijayan, who is now the Chief Minister (CM) of Kerala called him a ‘kulam kuthi‘ – a traitor.
Vijayan had called TP a traitor after he left the party and formed RMP. When he repeated the statement even after TP’s murder that the public linked to Vijayan’s party even before any legal trial took place, it was a shock to people, even the left leaning ones. Now, Vijayan is the Chief Minister of Kerala.
After the murder came attacks on TP’s wife K. K. Rema. CPI(M) politicians made remarks on her ‘widowhood’ and questioned why she was not crying after her husband’s death and how she could become vocal and active so soon after it.
A Kerala court convicted 12 accused, including three leaders of CPI(M) for the murder in January, 2014. M.C. Anoop (1st accused), Manoj Kumar aka Kirmani Manoj (2nd accused), N.K. Sunil Kumar aka Kodi Suni (3rd accused), T.K. Rajeesh (4th accused), K.K. Mohammed Shafi (5th accused), Annan Shijith (6th accused), K. Shinoj (7th accused), K.C. Ramachandran (8th accused), member of the Kunnummakkara local committee Manojan aka Trouser Manojan (11th accused), former branch secretary of Kadanganpoyil of the CPI(M) P.K. Kunhanandan (13th accused), member of the Panur area committee of the CPI(M) P.V. Rafeeque (18th accused), and M.K. Pradeepan aka Lambu (31st accused) were found guilty of the crime.
CPI(M) leaders including P. Mohanan (14th accused), district secretariat member of the CPI(M); K.K. Krishnan (10th accused), member of the Onchiyam area committee; Jyothi Babu (12th accused), member of the Kunnothuparamba local committee; M.K. Raveendran aka Padayamkandi Raveendran (30th accused), member of the local committee; C. Babu (42nd accused), office secretary of Koothuparamba area committee, and K. Dhananjayan (70th accused), secretary of Koothuparamba area committee were acquitted. K. K. Rema had said that she was not satisfied with the verdict and demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the matter.
The court observed that the murder was politically motivated, clearly establishing CPI(M)’s role in it. The criminal conspiracy that took place behind the brutal murder was exposed before the public of Kerala.
CPI(M)’s intention of annihilating TP and through it, his party RMP from the region did not work out when his wife K K Rema came back to politics and took charge of the party. TP had received information that his life was under threat several times before he was murdered and it had not stopped him from his political activism. Rema’s politics is undoubtedly the same as is proven by CPI(M)’s attacks on her that continue even today.
K K Rema’s determination is perhaps as big a blow to CPI(M) as TP was. On the fifth anniversary of TP’s death, Rema had said to Newsminute, ‘He was killed for his ideology, he was killed because they wanted to end his politics. I wouldn’t have let them achieve that. So I took up the reins of the party.’
The Communist Party’s stance towards TP’s activism does not seem to have changed. Pinarayi Vijayan holds the position of the CM when TP’s wife and most people who sought justice for TP believe that he has blood on his hands. This is perhaps the reason why attacks both physical, mental and cyber continue unabated against K K Rema and their son, Abhinandan. If anything, these attacks vindicate Rema and other RMP activists who are still being hounded by CPI(M).
In May, 2016, K. K. Rema was attacked by CPI (M) members during the time of assembly elections. Abhinandan, an engineering student, had to take to social media to urge the party that murdered his father to leave his mother alone.
‘What wrong did my father do? Is saying that a movement is making mistakes a crime to be chopped into pieces for? Is it the fact that my father’s party did not end with his end that is making you take revenge on my mother?’ he had asked in May, 2016.
Even today, CPI(M) attacks Rema with misogyny and slander when they are questioned. In February, 2018, Guptan CK, a former president of the Travancore Devaswom Board and son-in-law of the late communist leader EMS Namboodiiripad said, referring to Rema, ‘The mind of a woman who uses her husband’s death to give a setback to the CPI (M) is worse than a dung pit.’ This was his response when the opposition was accusing CPI(M) of yet another murder, that of Shuhaib, a Youth Congress worker in Kannur. He also went ahead and stated that it was RMP who murdered TP.
While the attack by cyber supporters of CPI(M) is continuing against Rema and even Abhinandan, the ruling CPI(M) government has not condemned the attacks and on the other hand has initiated proceedings to release one of the guilty people in the case. The party has give the reason of ‘old age’ to release P.K. Kunjanandan, a local CPI(M) leader. Kunjanandan was the 13th accused in the case and was found guilty under Section 120 (criminal conspiracy) of 302 (murder) of IPC (Indian Penal Code).
TP was remembered by various programmes today in Onchiyam and other areas. May 4 is called ‘TP Martyr Day’. Rallies and gatherings were held in memory of the leader. K. K. Rema who is now leading the party gave live updates of the flag hoisting at TP Chandrasekharan memorial in Onchiyam.