The CPM has publicly censured its Kozhikode district secretariat member and former MLA, George M Thomas for his 'love jihad' reference in connection with a recent mixed marriage in Kodenchery here.
CPM's Kozhikode district secretary, P Mohanan, said that even though Thomas apologised later, the party thought it necessary to censure the senior comrade.
"The party leadership was prompt to dismiss the statement. Also, comrade George realised his mistake and admitted his fault, both before the party leadership and the media," Mohanan told media persons on Wednesday.
"But as he had issued a public statement that contradicts the party's position, CPM has decided to publicly censure the comrade.
"Responsible comrades while reacting on various public issues must stand firm on the party's position on the matter," he added.
Thomas had courted trouble earlier this month when he referred to 'love jihad' while reacting to the wedding of a Christian woman, Joisna Mary Joseph with a Muslim man, Shejin, who is also a member of CPM's youth wing, DYFI.
The comments by Thomas had upset the party leadership as CPM in Kerala has been claiming that 'love jihad' is a 'made-up lie' promoted by the Sangh Parivar.
Past censures by the party
Public censure is the third severe disciplinary action in the CPM. It is one of the six actions that the CPM could invoke against errant comrades.
The lowest form of disciplinary action is warning. Then, there would be censure. Both these disciplinary moves will be confined within the four walls of the party.
Public censure is the third form, and perhaps the most commonly used. Former minister G Sudhakaran was 'publicly censured' last year for his indifferent election campaign for the CPM candidate in the Assembly polls. This, at the most, could be embarrassing.
But from then on, the punishment will be severe, and could affect a member's future in the party. The fourth action is demotion in the party hierarchy. Last year, a local secretary and area committee member (K M Basheer and M H Sheneer) were demoted for enlisting the support of SDPI members to initiate a no-confidence motion against the Congress in Erattupetta Municipality. In fact, V S Achuthanandan was knocked out of the CPM politburo in 2009 for infighting.
The fifth action is suspension from the party for a period less than a year. Former Devikulam MLA P Rajendran was served such a punishment in January this year after an internal enquiry found that, like Sudhakaran, he too had not worked for the victory of the CPM candidate in the last Assembly elections.
The ultimate, the most severe form of punishment is expulsion. No less a person than K R Gouri was expelled. P Sasi who has now been chosen as the Chief Minister's political secretary was also expelled in 2011 but he managed to get back to the centre of power in double quick time.