Centre asks State Govt to watch NDF daily

via PNS | Thiruvananthapuram published on December 17, 2009

The Union Home Department has instructed the Kerala Government to monitor the activities of Thejas newspaper and fortnightly run by the Islamist organization, NDF (presently, Popular Front of India) and take appropriate action on the ground that the two publications are airing communal and extremist perspective.

A letter written by the Union Home Department to the Kerala Government has reportedly asked it to adopt measures to control the paper and the fortnightly in Malayalam which have been publishing provocative news reports and views with communal agenda. The correspondence gathers particular significance in the context of the police action in Kerala against Abdul Naser Madani, chairman of PDP, which allegedly has communal agenda.

The main complaint of the Home Department against the publications is that they are depicting the fight of the police and the security forces against extremists and terror elements as acts of State terrorism.The publications are also taking a position that justifies the stand of the terrorists. It also complains that the viewpoint of the paper was in contrast with the official Government stand with regard to relations with the US and Israel.

The letter, written by the Union Home Department on November 18 was received by the Kerala Chief Secretary in the first week of December, has also reportedly given details about the sources of funds for the newspaper and fortnightly. It says that the funds for the publications were coming from several rich industrialists within the country and abroad.

It is said that the letter has specifically named a travel agency in Kozhikode in this regard. It has also pointed out that the newspaper has been publishing Kerala Government advertisements. The paper and the magazine are run by the Thejas Publishing Charitable Trust.

However, the officials of the newspaper refused to respond to the reports about the letter. An NDF functionary said that the newspaper officials need not react to the observations of the Home Ministry and Intelligence agencies. They said there was nothing extraordinary in the letter even if the reports were true as Intelligence reports and actions by the Government on them were routine affairs.

NDF functionaries suspected that there were clear political intentions behind the reports about the Home Department’s letter in the particular context of the police hunt for extremists in the State and outside. They said a particular political party could be behind making the contents of the reported letter public in the peculiar political situation.

While the Opposition Congress-led UDF has been running a campaign against the ruling CPI(M) for the support it has been allegedly extending to Madani’s PDP, which was its ally in the last Lok Sabha elections. There are allegations that the report about the Home Department’s letter is merely part of a strategy to push the UDF into the defensive.

Observers said the letter could be interpreted as supportive of the allegations being made against the NDF, which had been in informal alliance with the Congress-led UDF in the Parliament elections, as it has come from the Central Government headed by the Congress itself.

The NDF had launched Thejas Malayalam daily in 2005, when it was already running the Thejas fortnightly successfully. The Islamist organization had launched the paper as a result of the conviction that a newspaper was necessary to put its case and cause to the people as almost all other Muslim organizations had been running own newspapers.

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