18 January, 2021

The History Of Violence

Kannur nurtures a red-saffron rivalry that shows no sign of being breached

Photographs: S.K. Mohan
The History Of Violence
Red-Saffron Rivalry
  • Is five decades old; started when a bidi factory moved to Karnataka due to labour trouble. Communist workers who lost jobs were rehabilitated by the RSS.
  • Hate campaign intensified in the late '60s. Has been on the boil ever since
  • Today Marxists and saffronites have carved up entire villages between them
  • Both are equally brutal but violence escalates when CPI(M) is in power
  • In 2006, there were as many as 737 cases of rioting. At least 200 have died in four decades, several others maimed.


Looking at its lush green landscape, there's little to suggest the hatred that runs in deep furrows across Kannur. In this district, no one village trusts the other. You are judged by the ideology you subscribe to or, more precisely, the colour of your affiliation—saffron or red. If you're from the CPI(M), you have a score to settle with those identified as RSS/BJP symapthisers, and vice versa. There is no fix...


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