Political Murders in South India

There have been political murders in many southern states. Even though Kerala and TN stand out (in that order), the murder of the day in Bangalore (16/10/2016) and one today in Pune (17/10/2016) shows a widespread and planned attempt to murder dissenting political voices. On the top most layer - each of these issues seem unconnected. In Kerala, it is Communists that unleash the violence. In TN, the violence has decidedly religious undertones - most that were murdered were politically active Hindu activists, and the murderers are suspected to be Islamic fundamentalists. Nothing is known about the murderer in Bangalore.

These are the superficial observations. The connecting thread is that the victims in all these cases are politically active members of Hindu organizations. The levels of these conflicts have been kept deliberately below retaliation threshold; and their reporting deliberately muted. Given the press coverage a single murder in Dadri cases of inconsequential vandalization attempts at churches received, one would expect several political murders within a span of few weeks would be given sufficient exposure. Alas, it is secular India we are talking about.

The central government has been drawing a lot of flak in this particular scenario. Most Right Wing (a misnomer - but we will use it for want of better known word) Hindus wanted the central government (NDA-2) to step in, and set things right. Constitutionally, it means one of two things: a) a friendly / cooperative government or b) president's rule. In each of these states (KL / TN / KA), the politics is not conducive for a sub-lethal intervention (no friendlies that will cover NDA's ass). In fact, two of them would positively create a ruckus about emergency and the media will only be too happy to play the national (and global) second fiddle. The state controls police (law enforcement), and has full freedom and responsibility to act as it deems fit. So, as much as we gloat about "our government" at the centre, they can't do jack in the states.

Leaving aside the normal animosity between parties / communities, there seems to be an increasing frequency of "below the threshold" attacks. The attacks seem to be designed to provoke, rather than inflict a body blow to the Hindu organizations. It is also note worthy that the two incidents in TN - one in Coimbatore and one in Krishnagiri - were both in border states. It is likely that Kerala and Karnataka are providing asylum to the murderers.

All these observations lead us to the more pertinent question regarding these murders: the "why". There seems to be a well planned and coordinated attempt to provoke a strong reaction from Hindus. The idea is to incite a multi-state multi-city Godhra type riots. Imagine what it would do to India's economic progress. Coimbatore / Bangalore / Pune: all hubs of industrial and technological activity. Should be expect a blast somewhere in the next few weeks? Quite possibly - but it would specifically target politically active Hindu groups. The only way for Hindu groups to avoid a large scale riot, is to keep quiet. The modus operandi is not very different from what Pakistan inflicted on us in Kashmir.

Such a scheme to incite multi city riots in India; riots that can potentially derail any and all foreign investment; puts Govt of India in an unenviable position. The GOI can move in with a sledgehammer and impose president's rule in any or all of these states - but we can be 110% sure that the Supreme Court of India will extract its pound of flesh by annulling it. Not only will the govt earn the epithet of "dictatorial / emergency fascist", it would not even have earned this epithet - double whammy. On the other hand, the RW wants the govt to act against such coordinated murders - the constitutional division of powers be damned. It will be safe to assume that the Union would desist from acting against these murders in unfriendly states.

What should we do? Create a network. See to that the people who are left behind are not left out. Help with money. More importantly, if there is someone employable in that family, help them find a job. Make it an untold policy that people of such families will be provided skill-appropriate employment within the fold of Hindu companies. Beyond all of this: wait and preserve your strength. At some point, all of this will boil over - and what will happen then, would make post Godhra riots seem like a school ground tussle. Be prepared, or perish.



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