Kerala is a new haven for migrant workers from different states, especially Orissa, Bengal and Bihar besides Nepalese, especially in construction sector. For working in this sector a Keralite unskilled worker gets a minimum of Rs. 150 for 8 hours including one hour rest. For concreting and other works this goes up to Rs. 200 or more. A skilled worker gets anything more than Rs. 250. For overtime both are paid more wages. As a result, almost all construction contractors get migrant workers who are paid much lower wages for 10 to 14 hour work. They are forced to live in subhuman conditions. None of the major trade union centres or the state machinery give attention to this subject, so also the media. In September as two workers died and legs of one was amputated when an old building in which they were lodged by Chakolas Constructions collapsed in Kochi, as usual the contractor with the help of sub-contractor tried to hush up the matter by paying a paltry sum as compensation and threatening them to go away. The main TU centres or media did not come to their help.
It was then some of these Oriya workers contacted CPI(ML) and TUCI activists who immediately took up the issue and created conditions for the district collector to agree during negotiations to order a compensation of Rs. 3 lakhs each to the diseased and Rs. 3.5 lakhs for the worker who lost both legs. But as the workers' relatives went to sign the agreement, vested interests including AITUC, CITU leaders intervened blocking it. Protesting against it under leadership of CPI(ML) and TUCI activists nearly 100 migrant workers marched with the dead bodies to the contractor's house. On the way police forcefully took away the CPI(ML) and TUCI activists and put then in lock-up. The migrant workers with the dead bodies were taken forcefully to cremation ground and asked to bury the bodies. But they refused, saying that unless the arrested leaders are brought and assurance to sign the agreement is given they will not bury the bodies. So the police was forced in that night to release and bring the leaders so that the bodies could be buried. Next day the agreement was signed before the collector and full compensation amount was paid as DD.
It was a novel experience to the workers and the news spread fast. The contractors' lobby and other vested interests were disturbed. So they came out with a story in the two leading Malayalam dailies that Maoists are infiltrating to Kerala as migrant workers and it is the 'Maoists' who are behind the Kochi incident when their representatives very well know the CPI(ML) and TUCI leaders who took initiative. Similarly quoting the incident of a fugitive (Maoist) activist from Tamilnadu taking shelter for few days in an Idikki town hotel, the home minister has come out with a story that police force will be strengthened as 'Maoists' are entering Kerala. At the same time, the LDF minister very well know that when Raja Mouli, a CC member of CPI (Maoist) was kidnapped by AP police from Kollam in Kerala and later 'encountered' to death at Ananthpur in AP, not even a poster in protest appeared from the side of the 'Maoists' anywhere in the state. Such is their strength. The Maoist leader was extremely secretive and did not know anything about Kerala. Otherwise shouting few slogans would have attracted people and Kerala police, preventing his kidnapping. Even if he was arrested it would have become difficult for AP police to 'encounter' him.
The Kerala police very well know who is bringing out People's March from Eranakulam district and about the handful of other 'Maoists' in the state. While no action is taken against them, the 'Maoist' bogey is raised to suppress the people's movements organised by the CPI (ML) and class/mass organisations led by it, as well as by the dalit and adivasi organisations who are leading some of the major land struggles. The very same forces, the CPI (M) state leadership along with other LDF parties as well as the vested interests who forced the chief minister to abandon all actions to take back the illegally occupied land from Tatas, Harrisons, etc. are now raising 'Maoist' bogey so that the Mafia can continue to occupy the land and contractors can fleece the migrant workers.
Almost a similar incident had happened when more than a lakh of migrant construction workers in UAE, predominantly Malayalees, got themselves organised with the help of some political activists working there in different jobs and staged a mass protest leading to UAE authorities taking action against some contractors and granting many rights to them. It was a mass action which the 'Maoists' can never think of planning. Still an AP minister announced that it was the 'Maoists' from his state who organised it. This bluffing was repeated in a number of newspapers and channels.
The 'Maoist' bogey is used by ruling political leaders, state machinery and media to help the ruling system to suppress Communist Revolutionary forces and people's movements like Bush is using 'war on terror' to commit aggressions and pursue all heinous acts to establish US hegemony. Remember the foolish statement of Brinda Karat, the CPI (M) leader, that it was the 'Maoists' coming by Bay of Bengal and later Hoogly River in ships who organised the Nandigram uprising! The state knows very well that the CPI (Maoist) is a divided force today, its activities have dwindled in AP and it is almost non-existent in vast majority of the states. Still 'Maoists' are given free publicity, and a bogey is created to suppress people's movements.