Kerala is staring at a worrying scenario as the line between communal and political violence is getting thinner by the day. This is reflected in the data presented by the Ministry of Home Affairs in Parliament recently, which showed communal incidents have doubled each year during the 2015-2017 period, from three in 2015 to 12 in 2017. What is worrying is this malaise, for long swept under the carpet as political killings in the bloody fields of Kannur, has started spreading to other parts of the state. And the façade of political rivalry as the core reason for the bloody score-settling is getting knocked down by the reality of communal and caste rivalry being the real reasons.
Also being shred to ribbons is the oft-repeated theory that the villains of these gory dramas are mostly Hindus and Muslims as factions within a few Christian sects too have started making evident their taste for settling issues through bloodletting. On the one hand there have been communal clashes involving Muslim fundamentalists and RSS workers and on the other, clashes between the CPM and BJP. Sure enough, when you scrape off the given narrative of many a political murder involving the CPM and BJP workers, the communal colours are difficult to hide.
Curiously, most of those who lost their lives in Kannur, irrespective of their political affiliations, were from the economically-backward Thiyya community. At another level, the clergy is giving the call to arms—the never-ending violence between the Orthodox Church and Jacobite Church factions is a case in point. Once a thing of the past, clashes between upper-caste Hindus and Dalits are also back in vogue. Put all this on the platter and one gets a sense of the violent communal kaleidoscope that is Kerala. The fertility of Kerala soil for political mobilisation has never been in doubt. But in recent times, quite a few political players have got sucked into the communal cauldron. And many of them have failed to differentiate between what is communal and what is political. The lines are indeed getting blurred.