In its run to save special ones, CPM crushes lesser mortals under feet

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Last year, while answering a query on the sexual harassment allegation against a CPM leader, the then chairperson of Kerala Women’s Commission M C Josephine said that her party was the court and the police station. The senior CPM leader, who had to quit office eventually following her arrogant treatment of complainants, was making public a practice that had been prevalent for long.

Anupama S Chandran, who led a successful fight for the custody of her baby, was also a staunch supporter of the party. In fact, Anupama and her partner Ajith first approached the CPM district leadership with a complaint seeking the custody of their baby boy. Both of them refused to speak to the media initially as they had firmly believed their party would deliver justice and get their child back. It was only after the trafficking of the child to Andhra Pradesh that they realised the folly and approached the media for recourse.

The relatives of 21-year-old Mofiya Parveen Dilshad, who ended her life at Aluva on Tuesday, too cite the ‘role’ of a local CPM leader. The leader allegedly helped the family of Mofiya’s husband to scuttle the domestic-violence complaint filed by her at the police station. The mother of the girls found dead at Walayar in 2017, after being subjected to sexual harassment, too had alleged how the local CPM leaders ‘influenced’ the probe to sabotage it. 

Since the first Communist government in 1957, allegations of cell rule have been frequently levelled against the party. The practice of local committee and area committee members influencing the police stations concerned for settling cases was dominant during the rule of LDF governments. When the Pinarayi Vijayan government took over in 2016, there were specific instructions to the partymen not to interfere with police affairs. The directive was reissued after the swearing-in of the second Pinarayi government.

But, there are always ‘special cases’ of the ‘more equal’ which the party would take up as a mission. The silence of the Kerala chapter of All India Democratic Women’s Association in the Anupama case is a clear signal of the party’s interest. “The AIDWA chapter here seems to be dead. National leaders like Brinda Karat and Subhashini Ali have extended moral support to Anupama. But they are helpless to do anything beyond that,” said J Devika, academic and writer, who is a part of the Anupama-Ajith solidarity forum.

Pointing out how institutions meant to address citizens’ positive rights have violently wrenched to perpetuate the suppression of a couple’s negative rights, Devika said: “The sight of the ruling Communist-led forces making such cynical use of welfare agencies against citizens can only be horror-inducing as we watch something that we quite tacitly accepted to be modern, benevolent and welfarist transmogrify into a devilish, utterly oppressive, feudal conspiracy right in front of our eyes.

“Social activist and academic Azad Malayattil said the propaganda unleashed by the CPM cadre through social media against Anupama and her supporters must be something that should be taken more seriously.  “The party has progressed from cell rule. They now interfere in any sphere of governance to serve the vested interest of senior leaders. The cadre unleash propaganda terrorism to silence all critics. This is a rather new practice,” he said. Journalist and activist Pramod Puzhankara found fault with the silence of CPM in the Anupama episode. Minister Veena George, who spoke to the media, repeated the government was with the mother, but did not answer any questions beyond that.

CM mum on Anupama row 
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who used to meet the media regularly, has not convened a single press conference after Anupama’s issue became a controversy.

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