Red Salute to Salem Jail Martyrs!

Salem witnessed a daring strike by the Communist leaders as well as leaders of the Kisan Sabha and Agricultural Workers’ Union lodged in the Salem Jail. On 11th February, 1950 twenty two comrades of Communist Party of India were killed in police firing in Salem Jail. Senior leaders of Communist Party as well as leaders of the Kisan Sabha and Agricultural Workers’ Union who were in the forefront in the struggle against landlordism, were put in jail by the Congress Government. Comrades from the then Malabar Region of Madras state, Tamil Nadu and Andhra were put in Salem Jail. The Communist Party was banned and political prisoners were treated at par with rapists and petty thieves and were being forced to wear black caps that criminals had to wear. They also underwent torture at the hands of the prison authorities. Protest was launched by them against the atrocities and a memorandum was submitted 26th January, the Republic Day. The brutalities only increased.

On February 11th a large battalion under the leadership of the deputy jailor came to the area where communist prisoners were placed and ordered them to revoke their petition which was unequivocally rejected.

The police used brutal force and fired killing 22 comrades. Comrades C. Kannan, Kanthalottu Kunhambu and M. Kannaran were also injured. While 17 prisoners were killed in police firing, five more died due to police action. Of that 19 were from Kerala, 2 from Tamil Nadu and 1 from Andhra.

List of Salem Jail Martyrs

Thaliyan Raman Nambiar
O P Ananthan Nambiar
Ambadi Achari
Koyilodan Narayanan Nambiar
Pullanjiyodan Govindan Nambiar
Pullanjiyodan Kunhappa Nambiar
Nakkayi Kannan
N Balan
Neelencheri Narayanan Nair
A K Kunhiraman Nambiar
Mailapravan Narayanan Nambiar
Maroli Kooran Gurukkal
Njangadi Kunjambu
U V Narayana Marar
V C Kunjiraman
Naduvalappil Koran
Kunnummal Raman
Azad Gopalan
K Gopalan
Kutty Nair
Kaveri Muthali ( Tamil Nadu)
Arumugha Pandaram ( Tamil Nadu)
Sheikh Dawood ( Andhra)

In 2016 the Kisan Sangharsh Jatha reached Salem on 4th November. Earlier in Tiruchengode the Jatha team had met eighty seven year old Com. Seshachalam who himself was present in the jail and is the son of Com. Kaveri Muthali who was a martyr in the incident. The Jatha team felicitated him and Com. Seshachalam wished all success to the Kisan Sangharsh Jatha. Inspired by the memory of the great martyrs of Salem who bravely gave up their lives fighting against the unjust system the Jatha members vowed to carry forward the struggle with greater vigour and dedication.

The Kerala Karshaka Sangham affiliated to AIKS even to this day begin their membership campaign on 11th February in memory of Salem Jail Martyrs. The memory of these comrades who gave up their lives in the cause of the toiling masses shall always continue to inspire.