Wayanad: Urumbil Narayanan was among the residents of Pulpally in Wayanad who had invited the Naxalites to free them from the harassment meted out by local landlords.
A staunch supporter of Leftist ideology, Narayanan’s choice for the names of his children reflects his passion for the cause. He named his four children as Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Gagarin and Leika.
It was in Narayanan’s house at Devargadda that Naxalite leader Kunnikkal Narayanan and Philip M Prasad stayed before the action at Pulpally. Kunnikkal and Prasad were thrilled on learning the names of Narayanan's children.
Several meetings were held at Narayanan’s house to prepare the plan for the attack. The march taken out by Naxalites to the Pulpally MSP camp had also started from Devargadda.
Seeking Naxal aid
During the early days of the migration of farmers to Pulpally, they faced severe harassment from the landlords in the area. The threat of eviction also loomed large. The farmers were in search of saviours and learnt about the agrarian revolt in faraway Naxalbari and its impact in Kerala.
The Pulpally farmers began writing letters to Naxalites seeking their intervention in Wayanad. Apart from Narayanan, those who sent several letters included Kissan Thomman, Muduthottiyil Mathew and Ponnappan. Finally, the Naxalites reached Pulpally and sowed the seeds of revolution.
Narayanan’s son second son Gagarin, who is a member of the CPM’s Pulpally area committee, remembers that his father had the habit of regularly listening to the Peking Radio. Narayanan used to read all kinds of literature and learnt about the revolutions that took place around the world, which led him to support the Left.
When each of his four children was born, Narayanan did not have to think twice before giving them names. The first born, a girl, was named Leika. Gagarin came next, followed by Mao. The youngest son was called Ho Chi Minh.
Mao also dabbled in politics and served as CPM branch secretary for a long period.
When the Naxal action took place at Pulpally, Narayanan was in hospital with his son Mao. But still the police arrested him and he was remanded for 18 days.
Regular raids took place at Narayanan’s house and the police took away his favourite radio.
Narayanan’s third son Mao succumbed to a heart disease at age 46. Narayanan passed way in 1981. Leika, Ho Chi Minh and Gagarin still live in Pulpally, all whom are Left fellow travellers.
The Naxalites had conducted training and awareness programmes for several days at Mavilamthode before heading to Pulpally. They were led by Varghese, Kunnikkal Narayanan, Ajitha, Mandakini, Thettamala Krishnankutty, Kissan Thomman and C S Chellappan, among others.
The Naxalites launched an attack on the police outpost early on November 24, 1968. Though SI was the prime target, he escaped, having gone to his native place some days ago. Armed with spears and firecrackers, the Naxalites attacked havildar Kunhikrishnan Nair who was present at the station and killed him.
Gopalan, who was carrying the cracker meant to scare wild pigs, slipped and fell, causing an explosion and lost his hand.
The Naxalites then headed to Chekady through the Pathiri forest and and attacked the houses of Airady K Dasan Chetty and Veerady Thimmappan Chetty. The gold and money taken from there were distributed among tribals. Afterwards, the revolutionaries crossed the Kabani river and entered the Thirunelly forest. Their plan was to attack Thirunelly police station and escape to Thalassery taking the Kottiyoor route.
However, the plan got awry in the Thirunelly forest and the strength of the Naxalites dwindled. The death of Varghese and other incidents proved to be a setback. Ajitha and others were soon arrested by the police.