The Vimochana Samaram (1958-59) (Liberation Struggle in English) was an anti-Communist backlash against the first elected state-government in Kerala, India, which was led by E. M. S. Namboodiripad of the Communist Party of India. Organised opposition to the state government was spearheaded by the Catholic Church in Kerala, the Nair Service Society and the Indian Union Muslim League, and although termed a "liberation struggle", the campaign was largely peaceful, taking the form of statewide meetings and public demonstrations. In June 1959, Kerala was rocked by mass protests calling for the resignation of the communist ministry. The Indian government finally bowed to pressure and dismissed Namboodiripad on July 31, 1959.
On 1 November 1956, the state of Kerala was formed by the States Reorganisation Act merging the Malabar district, Travancore-Cochin and the taluk of Kasargod, South Kanara. In 1957, elections for the new Kerala Legislative Assembly were held, and a reformist, Communist-led government came to power, under E. M. S. Namboodiripad. It was the first time a Communist government was democratically elected to power in the world. It initiated the pioneering land reforms and educational reforms by introducing new bills in the state assembly. However, some clauses in the new bills became controversial and the government had to face severe opposition from influential interest groups, such as the Catholic Church of Kerala, Muslim League and NSS. A revolt was against the Communist government's educational policies . At Angamaly, the prime centre of Christians,, the intensity of fury was broke into open violence. On 13 June, Saturday, 1959 police was forced to open fire against a violent mob which attempted to attack the police station. But, the version of "rallyists" was different, saying that the police was mindlessly opening fire on an innocent mob without any provocation. 7 people were killed in the firing. The police firing and killing of 7 people instigated a mass movement against the EMS Government
The immediate cause of the outbreak of the Liberation Struggle was the introduction of the Education Bill by the minister of education Joseph Mundassery. The bill had revolutionary content that could have affected the administration of educational institutions, which were financially aided by the government. Many of these institutions, at that time, were under the control of various Christian congregations and a few under the Nair Service Society (NSS). The Education Bill claimed to regulate appointments and working conditions of the teachers in the government-aided schools. The remuneration of the teachers were to be paid directly from the government treasury. It also mandated to takeover any government-aided educational institution, if they fail to meet the conditions set by the newly promulgated bill.
With the introduction of agrarian relations bill, the government sought to confer ownership rights on tenant cultivators, to grant permanent ownership of land for the agricultural labourers, who reside in their premises at the mercy of landlords, and to attain an equal distribution of land by putting a ceiling on the individual land holdings so as to distribute the surplus land among the landless. With the introduction of the bill, government tried to address the social imbalance that prevailed in the state. In those days, the agricultural labourers, called as kudikidappukar, were considered as slaves. Though they were allowed to stay in a piece of land allotted by the landlord, they were denied any payments for their labour and permanent rights in the land. However, many radical proposals of this bill raised panic among the landowning communities of Kerala, especially Nairs and Syrian Christians.
Rallies and demonstrations against the government took place throughout the state. The protests were spearheaded by the Indian National Congress, the then ruling party of India and were later supported by various religious and communal groups. The communists strongly believed that the Central Intelligence Agency discreetly supported these protests, financially and otherwise. The death of a pregnant fisher woman, named Flory, a Christian woman in the police firing aggravated the situation.
One notable feature of the movement was the participation of school and college students supporting the movement; the Kerala Students Union, the student wing of the Indian National Congress also played a role.
The immediate effect of the Vimochana Samaram was the controversial dismissal of the Communist government under E. M. S. on 31 July 1959 and imposition of President's rule in the state, under Article 356 of the constitution.
Soon after the dismissal, a state election was declared and the United Front, led by the Indian National Congress, won with a majority and a ministry under Pattom A. Thanu Pillai took office.
The Communist Party of India projects the Liberation Struggle as a conspiracy. Some of the key points of criticism were that it was an anti-democratic, CIA funded, communal movement aimed to shatter the first democratically elected communist ministry. It has further accused the Indian National Congress of publicly joining hands with anti-democratic splinters and communal forces to promote the downfall of a democratically elected government.