For three decades, a bitter and bloody rivalry between CPI(M)workers and RSS members in Kerala’s Kannur district has claimed 200 lives.
There was no love lost on either side until the coronavirus pandemic brought the intractable rivals together to run community kitchens in the district’s coastal town of Thalassery which is also is home to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, CPI (M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan and many other leaders.
The new-found bonhomie has evinced much interest in political circles. While cutting vegetables for sambhar or cooking rice workers of Sewa Bharati, social wing of the RSS and Democratic Youth Federation of India, CPI(M) youth wing, rub shoulders. Workers of Youth League and Youth Congress are also there. In certain pockets of Thalassery both RSS and CPI (M) fiercely guard their villages affiliated to them and their political opponents are unwelcome here.
“It is no time for politics. Our CM has given an open call to engage everyone in the community kitchen. Our only concern is to feed empty stomachs. We don’t go by the colour of the flags here,” said Thalassery MLA A N Shamseer.
Sub-collector Asif K Yousef is co-ordinating everything in the gigantic effort to rope in groups of different ideologies in the fight against coronavirus.
“Feeding poor is a national movement. Prime Minister Modi said helping others is the best thing to do in trying times,” said BJP leader M P Sumesh.
Meanwhile, Kerala police on Saturday arrested three more workers of the ruling CPI(M) for allegedly vandalising the house of a girl who was in quarantine in Thannithod in Pathanamthitta district. Earlier police had arrested three persons while three others were absconding.
They attacked the house alleging that her father violated quarantine norms and came out frequently. The incident which happened on Tuesday had embarrassed the government and Chief Minister Vijayan had promised strict action against offenders.
Police said the girl who studies in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu had returned home recently and was in home quarantine as instructed by health officials. Her father, a cable TV operator, had isolated her in a room and he used to go out to collect food which angered many people in the area. Initially they sent a message on WhatsApp threatening them but when he filed a complaint their house was attacked, police said.
After the attack the girl filed a complaint with the CM and sought police protection for her family. “It should not have happened in a state like Kerala. Offenders never deserve any sympathy,” the CM had said. Later the Pathanamthitta district committee of the CPI (M) had suspended all from the party.