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Comrade Riyaz: Blood on the hands of the Brahmanical State

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June 24,2014, 01.12 PM  IST | Karthik Navayan

Published in HansIndia News Paper on 24th June 2014 – http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/2014-06-24/Comrade-Riyaz-Blood-on-the-hands-of-the-Brahmanical-State-99484

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The Government killed Riyaz, who had come for peace talks. He was detained around 10 pm in the night on June 30, 2005, in Barkatpura area of Hyderabad. News flashed on the TV screens about the arrest of Riyaz and three othes. Another peace talks representative Chandranna spoke to the then Home minister Janareddy and requested him to look into the arrest as there is danger of killing Riyaz and his colleagues in fake encounter. However, in reply, Janareddy told Chandranna that he is only taking care of administration of the home ministry; the entire decisions were taken and executed by the then Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy. As envisaged, shockingly Comrade Riyaz and his 3 colleagues Vijay, Raju and Goutham were shot dead around 3 a.m. in the early hours on July 1, 2005, within 5 hours of their arrest, in a mango orchard near Badankal village of Karimnagar district.

 

Just to remember and register killers as killer in the history, at the time, YS Rajasekhar Reddy was the Chief Minister, Swaranjit Sen was the Director General of Police and Aravinda Rao was the chief of Intelligence. Those three are aggressive castes, together killed a peoples intellectual who belongs to fishermen Minority Backward caste

 

There is nothing more unjust than this. Riyaz was a member of the Central Committee of the CPI-ML. He had spent 14 years in revolutionary politics. The passing away of Riyaz– an exemplary communist worker, leader, young revolutionary intellectual, and strategist— is an irreparable loss not only for CPI-ML (Janashakti) but also for the entire revolutionary movement. For the activists in the revolutionary movements, for its well-wishers and followers, Riyaz’s death comes as a great shock, a bolt of lightning. The killing of a peace envoy was unheard of even during the days of monarchies and itihasas but has been accomplished under democratic rule. It is shameful that this kind of rule has to be endured Riyaz belonged to a family of fishermen in Tamil Nadu. He came from a caste that had had to bear its share of ‘graded inequality’ and oppression doled out by the caste system. He was only the second individual in the whole community to have completed higher education (Engineering). Riyaz, despite being born in a community excluded from education and knowledge for ages, acquired higher education and grew up to become a fearless, lion-hearted revolutionary who sacrificed his life for the cause of changing society.

 

When the Andhra Pradesh government decided to hold talks with Naxals, Riyaz who was until then looking after the legal affairs of the party was assigned the role of emissary by the leadership. The government turned the peace talks into talks of unrest and deliberately scuttled them. It killed Riyaz who had come as an ambassador of peace. This reveals the true nature of the Brahmanical state.

 

We always found his simplicity and childlike naiveté very surprising. However, what we found more amazing was the scientific precision and clarity with which he analyzed problems. Which problems need to be dealt with, what kind of programmes should be taken up to resolve them? His strategies on these questions were always based on accurate reasoning. His solutions seemed acceptable to us under all conditions.

 

No one could beat Riyaz in spending money frugally. Any expenditure would be made only after thinking carefully about it for several times, and every expense would be meticulously recorded. Riyaz’s pecuniary conservatism seemed to resemble the ways of old style communists but he wasn’t a rigid, inflexible personality. He used only one pair of footwear during the whole year he stayed with us. No matter how many times they got damaged he would get them mended and use them again. He used to say ‘The Party’s money is the people’s money and therefore it should be used as sparingly as possible on personal expenses’ and also put that belief into practice. He used to smoke around 4-5 cigarettes a day. He had no favourite brands, anything from king sized cigarettes to the smaller charminars would do. He used to argue that fruits and juices are not the poor people’s food. He believed that those who worked among the people should not eat, speak or dress differently from them. Activists’ conduct should bring them closer to the poor,  as one of their own, he used to say. Riyaz was a truly selfless person. The part of his life he lived for himself and his family was very little. During the year that he lived with us, for every week he stayed at home, he would be traveling to different places for another. He would tell us very interestingly about the places he visited and the conditions there without referring to the party related affairs. We are proud that we lived together with a young, revolutionary intellectual like Riyaz for at least an year. With his death, it seems like we have lost a member of our family.

 

Riyaz, who used to be shy and unassuming in his personal affairs, was very forthright and lucid when expressing his views on social and political issues. Whenever he had some time to kill, we would spot him reading or writing something. He used to read English magazines like Frontline, Force and The Hindu regularly. Once, when we had sold an old stack of newspapers to the raddiwallah, he went after him and got them back. He had good proficiency in English. He used to help out the B.Ed students who lived next to us with problems they faced in the subject. As far as we knew, Riyaz spent more money on books than on any other needs. Every Sunday, he used to go around all the second hand book stores in Kothi, Sultan Bazar and Abids and buy the books he wanted. He would specially buy books on weapons design, training and war strategies, no matter how expensive. However, Riyaz did not know how to haggle over prices of books, so he would take along one of us!

 

Riyaz was a unique personality; we would come across people of his integrity and character very rarely in life. The days we spent with Riyaz are not mere memories now. The bitter truth that we have lost a great friend haunts us often and causes great pain in the heart.

 

After killing Riyaz in fake encounter, the home minister Janareddy expressed his unhappiness and said that an exgratia will be awarded if the family of Riyaz ready to take.  Moreover, Present ruling party in Telangana, the Telangana Rastra Samithi MLAs and ministers threatened to resign, that time they are in coalition with ruling Congress party. Now TRS in power in the new state, if they are really against the fake encounter killings, they can reopen the case of this brutal murder of Riyaz by the then police bosses and initiate prosecution of the culprits and also do justice to the family members of Riyaz. The present TRS government has an opportunity of standing on its own commitment expressed at the time of Riyaz death

 

Epilogue: After killing him, the DGP of Andhra Pradesh, Swaranjit Sen, gave a press statement saying that ‘there are 26 murder cases pending against Riyaz’. That was a wonderful joke, because even if we had counted the number of mosquitoes that Riyaz had killed, that would not have equalled 26.

 

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of our organisation.

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