Thousands of little artists and art enthusiasts have assembled in Kannur for the largest annual arts festival in Asia. And the land of looms and lore, as it is famously known, is reverberating with enchanting music, riveting dance performances and folk art forms. But playing host to the colourful Kerala School Kalolsavam, the biggest cultural event in the continent, did not deter the politicians of Kannur from doing what they are infamous for - killing rivals in cold blood. 

 

The day's performances at the school festival had hardly come to an end when a gang broke into the house of CA Santhosh, 52, a BJP worker from Andallur in Thalassery on Wednesday night and stabbed him until they made sure that he was indeed dead. Santhosh was a local leader of the BJP and the RSS. 
 

Also read: Blood-curdling history of Kannur's political factionalism
 

BJP workers protest in Kannur town

The BJP was quick to allege that the CPM, the ruling party in Kerala, was behind the murder and called for a hartal in the district on Thursday. The dawn to dusk hartal cast a shadow of gloom over the school arts festival, even though the BJP   announced that the festival and its participants would be spared from the protest. 

 

The hartal did not affect the conduct of the festival, but it did have an impact on the turnout of the audience as buses and vehicles kept off the road and a tense situation prevailed. 

 

Meanwhile, a protest march by BJP-RSS workers turned violent near the main venue of the festival on Thursday morning, and the police resorted to tear gas shells to disperse the crowd. After the clash with the police, the BJP workers blocked the road for some time.  Roads remain deserted in the district and shops are closed in the hartal. 

 

Sporadic incidents of violence continue to pour from across the district. Unidentified men threw crude bombs at RSS office at Talipparamba, one of the major towns in Kannur and a cultural centre established by the RSS. In retaliation, BJP workers attacked CITU area office at Thalipparamba. 
 

Also read: Here is how RSS turned humble lungi into  a divisive political tool
 

BJP hartal affected the audience turn out at school arts fete

Schools, festivals, children, art, culture and finer human emotions have never been a deterrent for Kannur politicians from indulging in their murderous trail. Of the 2,00 men killed in Kannur bloodshed since the late 1960s, most of them were victims of the most brutal murder, planned and executed to perfection. Many of them were hacked to death in broad daylight and while some others were put to death in the presence of their family members, leaving women and children to relive its horrors for the rest of their lives.  The most barbarous murder in the series was, of course, the execution of Yuvamorcha leader KT Jayakrishnan, who was hacked to death inside a classroom when he was teaching standard six students in 1999. 
 

Also read: Kannur is a strange treacherous place
 

Reams of paper have bee wasted in decrying Kannur violence. As a custom, Netas attend peace meetings at regular intervals and chalk out plans for peace. But, Kannur politicians have never bothered to wash the blood off their hands. They are never tired of inciting violence and they are never caught. They take pleasure in nursing the wounds and take pride in the souvenirs they keep from each murder. Sick!