Malappuram: Notwithstanding the continued attacks from prominent state leaders of the BJP, Kerala assembly speaker MB Rajesh has maintained that the Malabar Rebellion was part of the nation's freedom struggle.
"The Malabar Rebellion was anti-British and anti-feudal," said speaker MB Rajesh at a function here on Wednesday commemorating the 100th anniversary of the rebellion.
Rajesh had sparked a row recently when he equated Variyan Kunnathu Kunjahammed Haji, who was a leader of the Malabar Rebellion, to Bhagat Singh. BJP state general secretary C Krishnakumar had the other day demanded sedition charges against Rajesh for his statement.
On Wednesday, at the function organised by the Muslim League, Rajesh said that a historical event such as the Malabar Rebellion has to be evaluated based on facts.
He said that the rebellion of 1921 was, in fact, the culmination of nearly a century-long series of revolts staged by peasants who were oppressed by the feudal landlords under the supervision of the British Raj.
He, however, acknowledged that the Rebellion did have a communal shade to it at one stage, "but that was a deviation and similar events can be found throughout the struggle for independence".
“The Chauri Chaura incident happened during the Non-Cooperation Movement called by Mahatma Gandhi. Does that mean you can associate Gandhiji with what happened?” said Rajesh, adding that what matters most was the action that was taken once such “deviations” occurred.
Rajesh said that just like now there have always been attempts to brand the Malabar Rebellion as communal.
“The British historians branded it the Moplah Rebellion, just like they called the first war of independence as the Sepoy Mutiny. They learned their lesson of divide and rule after 1857 and shrewdly adopted the same strategy for the Malabar Rebellion,” said Rajesh.
BJP leaders accuse the Speaker of twisting history
Meanwhile, Union Minister V Muraleedharan and former Governor of Mizoram, Kummanam Rajasekharan, have attacked Rajesh over his statements.
Muraleedharan has accused Rajesh of trying to create a communal divide by twisting history. "How can Variyankunath who massacred innocent Hindus of his land be equal to Bhagat Singh," wrote Muraleedharan in a Facebook post on Wednesday.
Rajasekharan, in his Facebook post, noted that rioters have never fought for the country's independence. "They (rioters) do not fall under the list of freedom fighters," said Rajasekharan.
"A list of freedom fighters released by the state government in 1975 with C. Achutha Menon as chief minister is devoid of the likes of Variyamkunnan or Ali Musaliar, who were the leaders of the Malabar Rebellion. Members of the parties that were represented by Achutha Menon, K Karunakaran and CH Mohammed Koya are now portraying them as freedom fighters," Rajasekharan said.