There is a slight limp when Sadanandan Master takes the stairs, but his calm face bears no sign of the scars of the brutality of 1994 when he lost both his legs below the knees. “We want peace and harmony here. As a victim of political violence, I can convey this message to voters,” said Sadanandan, the BJP’s candidate in Koothuparamba in Kannur district, a Left stronghold, which has been the hotbed of an eye for an eye bloodbath involving the CPM and RSS.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tall, smiling and determined, “mashe” (master in Malayalam) as he is called, is undeterred by the past or his artificial limbs. It has only strengthened his resolve of taking on his political foe, which was allegedly responsible for chopping off his legs. Recalling that day in January 25, 1994, Sadanandan, who was a 30-year-old Sangh activist then, said “I was returning home around 8 pm after visiting my uncle. When I got off the bus, just two kms away From my home in Mattanur. Some people threw bombs scaring away the crowd in the market. They then caught me, pinned me down and cut off both my legs below the knees with an axe. They left me there and ran away. The police came after 15 minutes and took me to the Thalassery hospital and later to Kozhikode medical college.”He underwent treatment for two months after which he went to Bengaluru to get artificial limbs. A year later, he married Vanitha Rani, also a teacher, who had stood by him. “Even when she is not here physically, she is with me,” he said. They have a daughter Yamuna Bharti, a B-Tech student. After working as a sub-editor in Janmabhoomi for a while, he got back to teaching in a school in Thrissur, which he still does. As a student, Sadanandan, whose father was a Communist, was in the SFI, the CPM’s student wing. In 1984, he joined the RSS “inspired” by its ideology of cultural nationalism. He is now Kerala state vice-president of the National Teachers Union and member of the Bharatiya Vichara Kendram, an intellectual wing of the RSS.The electoral arena is new to him. “The Sangh pranth pracharak asked me to contest. I obeyed… Our aim is to win,” he said. Admitting its a Communist bastion, he said the BJP had organisational strength in the area and was strong in three-four panchayats. The CPM, which has fielded Shailaja Teacher, is trying to recapture Koothuparamba from the UDF, which has put up its MLA KP Mohanan. “I cannot move freely to every nook and corner, but my mind is free,” said Sadanandan as he began his door to door campaign. He took the blessings of 87-year-old Lakshmi Kutty Amma and then went on to the house of another party sympathiser, before he set off for his road show.The road from Panoor to Koothuparambu has been the nerve centre of political violence in the region. Around 30 kms from Koothuparambu, in Peralassery, is the trail of another gory killing- that of KV Sudheesh, an activist of the SFI, the student’s wing of CPM- on the same night that Sadanandan was attacked.In a small two-bedroom house, his parents–Nalini and Narayan– both of whom were witness to their 26-year-old son being savagely hacked to death, lead a quiet life. There is photograph of Sudheesh on the wall in front of the entrance. Other than that there is a stoic silence about the incident that tore their life apart.Narayanan, who had a car mechanic’s workshop, goes down to the library nearby to read the newspapers and books.CPM sources said Sadheesh was a charismatic leader and not associated with politics of murder. They said unlike the BJP, the CPM party did not want to make violence an issue during elections. Peralassery falls in Dharmadam constituency from where CPM politbureau member Pinarayi Vijayan is taking on M Divakaran of Congress. The Left is trying to recapture its electoral control over Kannur, the origin of the Communist movement in the state and birth place of leaders like AK Gopalan. In the last election the UDF wrested five of the 11 seats in Kannur.The CPM and RSS blame each other for the violence, which has reportedly taken around 70 lives from both sides since 1999.Message of peace and harmonyParty candidate Sadanandan Master, whose legs were cut off in political violence in 1994 in Mattanur in Kannur, where the CPM and RSS have indulged in bloodthirsty revenge, wants to send a message of peace and harmony. Just 30 kms away from the constituency, live the parents of Sudheesh, the SFI student who was hacked in front of their eyes the same night that Sadanandan was attacked

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Kerala elections 2016: In North Kerala’s red stronghold, BJP fires up memories of a bloody past