Beemapally Massacre : A Story of State Terror

The blood-soaked soil of Beemapally could not be washed away by the waves of CPI (M)’s gimmicks to appease minorities

Rejaz M Sheeba Sydeek

The Brahmanism which the ruling class practiced during the Monarchical and Present Democratic system has spilt the blood of Beemapally People! Mahin Abubacker was a traditional healer who came from Arabia to the coastal region of Travancore to spread Islam in the 14th Century along with his mother Beema Beevi and it was after her name the present Beemapally and mosque is named. Mahin Abubacker’s popularity among the low caste fisherfolk of then Beemapally disturbed the King, Marthanda Varma. The King’s Brahmanic consciousness got hurt when lower caste fisher folk embraced Islam which had the nature of resistance to help themselves from the caste system. Mahin Abubacker and his followers questioned the king who discriminated and exploited lower caste people and this resistance led to the massacre of Mahin Abubacker and fishermen by the King’s Army. After 7 Centuries, The government which is part of the ruling class with the same Brahmanic sentiments with Hindutva interests massacred Beemapally People in 2009 without any reason. Beemapally Massacre is not only one of the biggest state terror in Kerala but also an example of how collective amnesia and selective activism of Malayalees betrayed the rebellious history of Kerala!

Malik, a 2021 Malayalam Movie has brought the discussion of the Beemapally Massacre which took place in 2009 again into society. Why Beemapally Massacre was never part of the discussion in our society when atrocities on Muslims and state terror was always a hot topic for Malayalees who always raised their voice and clenched their fist against oppressors? The answer is simple because the people responsible for Beemapally Massacre was not Sangh Parivar or Proto Hindutva group, Congress, it was the Left Democratic Front government which was led by CPI(M).CPI (M) enjoys the privilege of a Secular and Minority friendly parliamentary political party status in India and sometimes exploits it.

The scuffle between traders of Beemapally and Hardcore Criminal & Extortionist Kombu Shibu of Cheriyathura later became Beemapally Massacre after Kerala State Police opened fire without any provocation on innocent People of Beemapally without following rules and gave the tag of Communal Violence to silence the media & society from criticism. Last May 17 marked the 12 years of the Beemapally Massacre in which Kerala Police under VS Achuthanandan government murdered 6 innocent Muslims hailing from the fishing community of Beemapally, Trivandrum including a 16-year-old boy. Ahammed Saleem (50 years, shot on the eye), Badhusha (35), Syed Alavi (24, shot on chest), Abdul Hakeem (27, shot on back) and Kanni Haji (63) are the other 5 victims who were murdered. The 16-year-old boy, Firos was playing cricket on a beach which was almost 1 km away from the place where firing took place and Firos was murdered using the bayonet of the Police Gun. His body was dragged on the beach by the police and the footage was shown in media and the same incident was recreated in the movie, Malik. Years later 2 more people, Muhammad Salim and Ibrahim Salim died from the injuries.

The Government scripted a communal story after the massacre and blamed the Muslims of Beemapally as the instigators of communal violence which had never happened between Muslims of Beemapally and Christians of Cheriyathura! Muslims and fishing folks belong to the marginalized communities and here in Beemapally both come together, making them more prone. The story of communal Violence was fabricated to mask the Police massacre and to justify their actions under the smoke of communalism.

Poverty, illiteracy and Poor social living conditions never forced the two communities to fight against each other and the fight which took place before the massacre was never between the two communities but between natives of Beemapally and Shibu’s Criminal Gang which never had the support of Cheriyathura. The Police who were not interested in stopping Shibu was rather interested to spray bullets on Beemapally people of which around 52 were injured, out of which 32 had bullet injuries and the shooting stopped, only when the police ran out of ammunition. Most of the injured people lost their legs and got their organs damaged. No warnings were given before the firing and as per protocol, the first step is to disperse the crowd by asking them to and if it fails, police can resort to lathi-charge, firing tear gas and usage of water cannon. If all these fail, rubber bullets should be used and only after this fails to control, live bullets should be used in a controlled manner that too after permission from concerned authorities.

Police also added that the Muslim community planned to attack a Christian church in Cheriyathura. We know that Police cannot fabricate this communal story without the permission of the Home ministry from the state government. Since it’s the Muslims on the side against the Police and State, an angle of communal violence will be used. Since the public consciousness of Brahmanic Hindutva India believes that Muslims has a patent in terrorism, the story cooked by CPI (M)’s LDF government on Beemapally will be easily chewed and digested by mainstream media and society who becomes silent when terrorism is the topic fearing social boycott.

In Kerala, we can see the same kind of fabricated story being used during the time of the Colonial British government which blamed Malabar Muslims for killing upper-caste Hindus during the 1921 Malabar Revolt. Malabar Revolt was an agrarian socialist revolt against the exploiting upper-caste Brahmins, feudal bourgeoisie and the imperial British government, which exploited Dalit and Muslim peasants. British along with their brahmin stooges diverted the real cause of the revolt by peasants by slamming the Malabar revolt as communal violence. British was able to deceive Gandhi, Ambedkar and other senior Congress leaders, that Malabar Revolt was not based on Class consciousness, but a communal attack on Hindus. Coming to Kerala after Independence, the Congress-led UDF government blamed 11-year-old Muslim girl Sirajjunisa for leading a rioting mob against Brahmins in an FIR charged against her after her death. The reason for defaming her was to divert the actual issue of Sirajjunisa who was murdered in police firing on December 15th 1991 when she was playing outside her house. Sirajunnisa was murdered after then the DIG of Police and Present State Police Chief Advisor to Pinarayi Vijayan, Raman Srinivastav IPS ordered his junior officers through wireless radio equipment to shoot the Muslim bastards! His orders were, ” I want to see the dead bodies of Muslims Bastards”. Since Sirajunnisa is a Muslim, her young age doesn’t matter for the state. Whether she’s a toddler or an aged lady, for the state, she will be an AK-47 holding terrorist targeting upper-caste people!
This kind of same Islamophobic script was also used by the self-proclaimed secular CPI (M) government in the 21st century at Beemapally!

Sirajunnisa – The Forgotten Hindutva Victim!

Kombu Shibu who hailed from neighbouring Cheriyathura which has a majority of the Latin Catholic population was a public nuisance and anti-social. On May 7 2009, Shibu created havoc in Peeru Mohammad’s shop in Beemapally after he refused to pay the bill and threatened to prevent the Annual festival of Beemapally Muslims, Uroos (a festival held in memory of Beema Beevi and her son Mahin Abubacker) from taking place on May 25 2009. He got roughed up by the natives and later he came back to Beemapally only to put fishing boats on fire to avenge the attack on him. Shibu who was a habitual offender used to extort money and destroy properties of the Beemapally people. The Mosque committee secretary Azeez complained to police against Shibu to prevent violence and the Collector Sanjay Kaul IAS ordered to arrest Shibu. Despite strict orders from the district administration, the police neglected the orders of the collector and didn’t arrest him. Shibu also used to scare the public by claiming to be an HIV infected person and threatened to spread the virus by cutting himself with a blade and pasting the blood on others. Even the Cheriyathura natives wanted police to detain Shibu to prevent further commotions and blamed police for the massacre. On the day of the massacre, Shibu again came to Beemapally and police were already stationed there. Remember that Police were deployed just to prevent a criminal and his gang from creating a ruckus with Beemapally people and it was not to prevent riots between two communities. Police stood as mute spectators and as a response, Beemapally people formed groups on the streets against Shibu and gang. The crowd refused to disperse after Shibu continued to disturb them in the presence of the police. Though Beemapally people were peacefully standing there in their area, without any provocation, Police started firing at 2.30 pm and the onlookers and innocent people fell to the state bullets. Neither Shibu was taken into preventive custody nor the people of Beemapally was protected, instead, the victims of Shibu were murdered. Human Rights Organizations, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and National Council for Human Rights Organization (NCHRO), who did a fact-finding investigation on the massacre concluded that the police exploited the tense atmosphere which prevailed because of the anti-social activities of a local criminal named Kombu Shibu to open fire in Beemapally.

Police initially called the firing as Cheriyathura Firing instead of Beemapally Firing as police presented it as an attempt to back off the violent mob of Muslims who tried to attack the Christian community of Cheriyathura. Even though Church Representatives slammed the police version of communal violence and the plan of Muslims to attack the church, the mainstream newspapers echoed what police vomited and other parliamentary political parties didn’t care to speak for the victims. The media took time to understand that the victims were Beemapally people and the community was defamed by the police for covering up the state terror. What if the people of Beemapally reacted against this state terror? They would be labelled as terrorists instead of people who resisted against the state terror! They don’t even have the privilege to resist when their existence is questioned by the state.

Beemapally massacre happened when Polit Buro member of CPI (M) Kodiyeri Balakrishnan was the Home Minister and no police officers were dismissed for their involvement. They were suspended for namesake only to be promoted and reinstated in service later. Around 70 rounds of bullets were fired on people who ran back helter-skelter after police started firing. Those who got injured with bullets were beaten with the butt of the rifle and the ones who came to help the injured were also not spared. According to police reports, Shangumugham Assistant Commissioner of Police, Suresh Kumar and District Crime Records Bureau Assistant Commissioner of Police, Sharafudheen gave orders to fire. Still, we can see the wounds of the firing in the hearts of the Coastal Areas of Beemapally and most of the injured people are still living in pain and poverty because of the state made disaster. District Collector Sanjay Kaul IAS stated to the District Judge, K Ramakrishnan that it was without the permission of the Executive Magistrate that the police opened fire. To save the face of the Police Department, City Police Commissioner M.R. Ajith Kumar said Beemapally was a fertile ground for organizations with fundamentalist ideologies. According to NCHRO, it was then City Deputy Commissioner of Trivandrum and present City Police Commissioner of Kozhikode, AV George IPS who gave the order to press the trigger. AV George is a notorious police officer who is always in controversies including for forming a Police Squad without permission from the department and also for the custodial death of 26-year-old Sreejith of Varapuzha and for registering UA(P)A against Comrades Allan-Thwaha. Then the DGP of Police, Jacob Punnoose IPS justified the firing just like last DGP Lokhnath Behera justified the usage of UA (P) A and killing of Maoists extra judicially.

Neither CPI (M) nor the Congress which came into power later was interested to talk about Beemapally Massacre. No discussions were held in the state assembly and investigations on the massacre were dropped by the governments. The Ramakrishnan Commission Report was neglected by the government which accused the police officers of murdering 6 people and blamed the Police for plotting up a fake story. Ramakrishna commission submitted its report to the government on the Beemapally incident. However, the report was set aside by both United Democratic Front Government and Left Democratic Government saying that all the findings cannot be abetted and no further discussions were there on the issue. The government had promised Rupees 10 lakhs as compensation to the families of the killed but it didn’t do any justice to their families. State giving compensation to the victims is like a murderer giving money to the dead’s kin. By giving compensation, the government has accepted its mistake, if it was a communal riot as stated by the City Police Commissioner why the government gave compensation to the communal rioters?

How can we expect justice from CPI (M) when the same person, VS Achuthanandan who was Chief Minister during the time of the Beemapally Massacre stated that Love Jihad is a fact and Muslim groups are using money and marriages to increase the population & convert Kerala into a Muslim Majority State? The present Chief Minister of CPI (M), Pinarayi Vijayan’s police was a mute spectator when Hindutva goons publicly threatened to destroy mosques and kill Muslims during the Sabarimala riots. Nor UAPA nor petty criminal charges were registered against the goons who were caught along with lethal weapons from a temple in Kozhikode. The blood-soaked soil of Beemapally could not be washed away by the waves of CPI (M)’s gimmicks to appease minorities.

After the massacre, the people of Beemapally were forced to prove their secularism & innocence to the world! Because media portrayed Beemapally as a sensitive area with the influence of religious extremism after the firing. Human Rights Activists criticised Malayala Manorama’s Metro for lying that Beemapally people fired rocket launchers against the police. The state police were also busy plotting new scripts to fix the link between Beemapally people and Nagpur after police told that grenades from Nagpur were found. Police even tried to plant fake bombs in the area to convince the outside world that firing was inevitable to control a crowd that had explosives and a history of resistance. But locals thwarted it after they caught the drama of police red-handed and the bombs which police presented were made up of paper stuffed objects.

Imagine the situation of those humans who are victims of state terror being branded as terrorists to completely justify the atrocities of state police. Locals alleged that it was Police who put their sheds and houses on fire in Beemapally and Cheriyathura which were just 500 to 600 meters away from each other. The Opposition parties, parliamentary Muslim parties which serves the elite bourgeois Muslims were silent on Beemapally firing because the victims belonged to the fishing community of Kerala who is always neglected and prone to eviction by the state in name of development. Muslims of Beemapally are considered to be low caste by elite Muslims since the ancestors of Beemapally converted from low caste to Islam and the Hindu upper-caste consciousness of Thiruvanthapuram isolates and alienates Beemapally from mainstream society and the public is spoon-fed that people of Beemapally are violent and cultureless. The progressive activists who belonged to the middle class and upper-class Muslim communities suffered from selective amnesia after May 17. The fishing communities of Kerala not only face the wrath of the sea but also of the government who never protects their lives from sea erosion by building sea wall protection and groynes. Instead, the fishing community will be asked to evict after giving them a few lakhs as compensation. The eviction is part of a central government project, Sagarmala. Surprisingly the rocks that government doesn’t have for building seawall and groynes for the fishing community is there for Adani’s Vizhinjam Project.

When Tamil Nadu natives Jayaraj and Bennix were murdered by Police, the Malayalees just didn’t protest against the police alone but also against the state which controls the strings of the suppressing tools wearing khaki. But when Malayalees are killed by these khaki lad goons, fingers towards the state will be lowered! The parliamentary political party, CPI (M) is part of the ruling class and they along with the state organs are meant to protect and serve ruling class ideas and interests. The ruling class and National interests don’t accommodate the interests of Adivasi, Working Class, Peasants, Muslims and other minorities who are exploited on basis of labour, religion and caste. Brahmanic Hindutva Ruling class is trying to divide the minorities by injecting insecurity among the minorities through the propaganda of RSS that Christians are under the threat of Muslims. Both Muslims and Christians are the two enemies among the three internal enemies of RSS. The third enemy is the communist, whom the public consciousness sees as CPI (M) is helping RSS do their job easily! Be it Congress, Parliamentary Left or Sangh Parivar, all belong to the same pigsty which licks the boot of Corporates and Upper Caste Hindus for wooing voters. We need to understand that the Kerala government is a good competitor with Police Raj of Sangh Parivar governed states and remember that Beemapally Massacre, Muthanga Massacre and the four fake encounters in which 8 Maoists were killed happened in Kerala but for state and police it’s not in Kerala!Never Forgive & Forget Beemapally Massacre!

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