Peace a casualty in violence-hit Kasaragod

Due to recurring communal disturbances, Kerala district goes to sleep early; two wheelers banned after 7 pm

As night falls, fear grips  Kasaragod, the northernmost town of Kerala, adjoining Karnataka. Before 8 o’clock at night, streets wear a deserted look and shops down shutters.

Cinema theatres finish their night shows by 9:30 pm, unlike in other parts of Kerala. Two wheelers are banned on streets after 7 pm to check violence, as attackers come on bikes and disappear swiftly.

Periodic violence of a communal nature occurs at least once in every quarter, annually,  in Kasaragod district. Several people have been killed in the district during the last few years and hundreds have been injured. Attacks on property and vehicles are no news in the coastal belt, stretching from Kanhangad to Kasaragod town.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG)of police in Kannur Range S Sreejith had submitted a report to the state government in this regard in November 2011. He said, “branding communal conflicts as political issues at the behest of political parties have proved counter productive.”

The DIG noted that the entire coastal belt of Kasaragod district was vulnerable to communal riots. He proposed setting up special control room and patrol units in Kasaragod to gather intelligence and prevent communal riots.

According to the report as many as 1,113 cases, where the complainant belongs to one community and accused to another, have been registered over the last one decade in Kasaragod. However, none of the accused has been convicted.

Of the around 11,000 accused in different cases of communal clashes, only around 5,000 have been arrested. However, the DIG report on incidents of communal riots has since been relegated to the back burner under political pressure.

At present, prohibitory orders have been issued in Kasaragod following widespread violence due to an attempt to defile a temple last week. As many as seven persons belonging to different communities have been seriously injured in the incident.

Moral policing is a reality in Kasaragod town. People are cautious while talking to opposite sex from another community. Armed gangs stalk places of public gathering.

Local dailies have reported that railway station premises, bus stands and restaurants are no more safe places, as armed youth keep a watchful eye on those who dare to speak to opposite sex from another community. Those who violate the rule are swiftly punished.

Four such incidences have been reported in the town this month. One such incident alsso lead to large scale violence .

The latest inflammatory activity to be reported from the district is a parade by youth  wearing armed forces uniforms.

The police filed cases against around 100 youths for illegally conducting the parade  during the first week of February. The incident was also repeated on February 11.  

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