Clause on atheism – Muslim leaders abandons CPM

published on May 9, 2010

Dissent spreads in CPM against clause on atheism

PNS | Kozhikode

Dissent against the clause in the CPI(M) rectification document that party leaders should strictly adhere to materialism and atheism is spreading through the organization in Kerala with even senior functionaries beginning to leave the party in protest. After sowing dissent among the party members and supporters belonging to the Latin Catholic community in Southern Kerala in January, the clause is now causing tremors in the party units in Malabar in northern Kerala.

Senior party leader TP Muhammadkutty, who was the CPI(M) candidate in the last Assembly election at Kondotty in Muslim-majority Malappuram district, left the party recently and joined the Indian Union Muslim League, a constituent of the Congress-led UDF. Muhammadkutty, member of the CPI(M)’s Malappuram district committee for the past 18 years and Kondotty area secretary till recently, had accepted the League membership saying that he could not abdicate his religious beliefs.

The CPI(M) had tried to keep the resignation of Muhammadkutty of Karikkuzhi, Pulikkal, Kondotty a secret but the news leaked out after he accepted the League membership by reaching the residence of League president Panakkad Haidarali Shihab Thangal at Malappuram. Sources in the CPI(M)’s Kondotty unit indicated that more resignations from the party could follow as Muhammadkutty had a vast following in the area.

The CPI(M)-deserter has said that he cannot think of abandoning his belief in Islam and God and that no restrictions had ever been placed on him or his colleagues in the party in this regard so far. As an office-bearer of the local mosque committee, he cannot stay away from religious functions, he says. Muhammadkutty had joined the CPI(M) in 1979 after quitting as the Youth Congress’s Malappuram district president.

Friends and relatives of Muhammadkutty in Kondotty pointed out that the party had never tried to impose any kind of restrictions on his religious beliefs till the rectification document was “invented”. “Muhammadkutty had performed Hajj when he was local committee secretary. Even after that he had been respected by the top party leaders and nobody had told him to dilute his beliefs,” pointed out Abdul Rehman of Pulikkal, a friend of Muhammadkutty.

He said that the party had given Muhammadkutty the responsibility of the local units of its feeder organizations even when he was a devout Muslim. “Therefore the “invention” of the particular clause on materialism in the rectification campaign surprised us,” said Rehman. He also said almost all the Muslims in the party in Malappuram and Kozhikode districts would have to quit the CPI(M) if it was serious about the members’ adherence to materialism.

Desertions from the CPI(M) in protest against the rectification document’s clause on adherence to atheism had started with Dr KS Manoj, party’s former Lok Sabha member from Alappuzha, quitting it when he was a member of the Thumboli local committee. Immediately after his resignation, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat had tried to control the damage by saying that the party was not particular about adherence to materialism.

However, Karat’s explanation was not accepted by the Latin Catholic community, which was in great strength in at least four districts including Alappuzha. Manoj was the president of the district’s Latin Catholic Association when he was welcomed into the party. His resignation and the subsequent expulsion from the party had initiated chain reaction among the Latin Catholic supporters of the CPI(M), with several of them turning against the Marxists.

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