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Clashes resume between Communists and the far-right in Kerala, India

Translated Tuesday 21 August 2018, by Eoin Downey

Despite peace talks, two killed on Monday evening.

Hindu-nationalism has returned in India. Under the guidance of Prime Minister Narenda Modi, who took office in 2014, the far-right movement has become the face of crime. Just two days after two Dalit students, better known as ‘the untouchables’, were attacked in Uttar Pradesh, the political murders have resumed after what had been a period of calm.

In Pullur on Monday evening, Babu Kannappoyil, an active campaigner for the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and former councillor in Kannur was beaten to death by a group of unidentified assailants. Suspicions immediately turned towards the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu nationalist paramilitary group who are linked the Bharatiya Janata Party, whose leader is the current prime minister.

300 dead since 1969
A video showing a member of the RSS celebrating the murder of Kannappoyil has been circulating on social media causing frictions between communist activists and the RSS. A rickshaw driver and far-right campaigner named Shamoj was also killed. Another communist activist is in a critical condition.

The CPI-(M) called a general strike from dawn to dusk in Mahe and Kannur to protest the violence. The CPI-M and the RSS recently held talks under the guidance of the head of state, Pinarayi Vijayan (CPI-M) in order to restore calm. Since 1969, political violence has resulted in 300 deaths in the north of Kerala. The district of Kannur has been held by the CPI-M since the thirties and every village has memorials to activists who were killed by the RSS.

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