Kerala police yesterday arrested Nasar Arattupuzha, Alappuzha district president of Welfare Party, (political wing of Jamaat-e-Islami) for instigating the migrant labour agitation of March 29. Welfare Party is known to be an Islamic group holding extremist views. They do not contest elections. Reports from Malappuram suggest that Zakir. P and Shereef, both from Nilambur, were arrested for spreading fake messages that trains were ready for the migrant labourers’ travel back home. These two are allegedly Congresssmen. Some fake messages stated that migrant labourers in Delhi got vehicles back home after carrying out agitation there. One Zakhir Hussein, leader of CITU, the trade union controlled by CPM, has been arrested in Pattambi, Palakkad district for trying to organise migrant labourers agitation there.
CM Pinarayi Vijayan, in his daily brief, said on March 29 that two extremist organisations played their roles behind the migrant labour agitation. He added that it was not the right time to disclose the names of both. There are reports that police has found out some social media profiles linked to the organisations alleged to have instigated the agitation. A man from West Bengal is also reported to have arrested for spreading fake messages; it is yet to be confirmed.
Meanwhile, police have registered cases against more than 2,000 migrant labourers in connection with the March 29 incident. Lot of things are to be traced out in connection with the migrant labour agitation. Since the extremist groups’ involvement is suspected, only an NIA inquiry could bring the hidden facts to the light.
Laborers agitation that sent jitters in Kerala
It was like a bolt from the blue on March 29 morning. Nearly four thousand migrant labourers congregated in Payippat Panchayath near Changanaserry, Kottayam district, Kerala state. They raised three specific demands: (1) Facilitate their travel back home (2) Do not need cooked food prepared for the people like them in view of the jobless situation due to the Lockdown (3) Need drinking water and North Indian food. It was a blatant violation of Lockdown rules. As many had suspected, the conspiracy behind this so-called agitation was proved right as similar agitation took place 24 hours later in Perumbavoor, the place with the largest population of migrant labour in the whole state.
The Payippad riot started at 11am. It was a very small group. But, by 12.30pm thousands of labourers started to congregate. It was a noisy agitation. When police and revenue officials asked them to disperse, they protested and raised their demands. As they refused to oblige, police resorted to lathi charge. A state minister who came to ease the situation, revenue officials and police officers were helpless. If the protest took long, it would have posed a serious threat to the law and order situation and the anti Covid-19 drive. Later on GOK took decision to comply with their demand towards food requirement. Regarding their demand for facilitating their travel back home, CM Pinarayi Vijayan and others in the regime maintained that a NO is the only answer. Pinarayi told the media that our PM Narendra Modiji has said that all our citizens should stick on to the place where they are.
Then the officials, media and the ordinary people wondered how come it happened. It can be recalled that the WhatsApp Hartal which took place one and half years ago, was organized in a similar manner by the Islamic extremists. Then came the report that this 2020 unrest originated from a WhatsApp message from a certain source. The same evening CM Vijayan said that he suspected a conspiracy behind the agitation. All right thinking people echoed it. BJP leaders said the same. A voice message said to be of CPM Area Committee member M.R. Faisal is doing the rounds in the social media. It says, some extremist groups are behind it. The reporter of Media One Channel, the Malayalam TV channel controlled by Jamaat-e-Islami, was allegedly found to be roaming in the labour camps persuading them to come out for the agitation. Voice message says, it was an open violation of the Lockdown rules hence legal action should be taken against all the people behind this. It was a call for riot which invites stringent legal action.
When the agitation is viewed from an impartial angle, it is clear that without an organized instigation and conspiracy, it is impossible to organize such a large number of labourers, especially when most of them are illiterate. Moreover all of them do not speak the same language. Therefore, obviously there is a conspiracy. It looks like an open challenge against the Lockdown. The agent provocateurs wanted to mess up the Lockdown and spread COVID-19. At this juncture none can forget two anti-nationals, from Delhi and Bengaluru respectively, who openly called for spreading COVID-19. People believe that they are the workers of present incarnation of the outlawed SIMI.
About 12,000 labourers used to live in Payippad Panchayathh in 250 camps; eight thousand of them left for their home village just before the Lockdown was declared. There are reports that NIA and Military Intelligence have started inquiry into the incident.