“Hunger felt by the Hindus, Christians and Muslims are the same”

published on February 22, 2008

Paloli panel proposals aim to imbalance society: BJP

Pioneer News Service | Kochi

The Bharatiya Janata Party will organise intense agitations against the plan to implement the recommendations of the committee headed by Local administration Minister Paloli Muhammad Kutty to study ways to improve Muslim life in Kerala in the light of the Rajinder Sachar Committee.

State BJP president PK Krishnadas said here on Friday that the Government should reject the Paloli Committee’s recommendations. These recommendations, if implemented, would create disequilibria among communities in Kerala, he said.

“Hunger has only one nature. The hunger felt by the Hindus, Christians and Muslims are the same. Any move to categorise hunger in terms of community and politics could not be approved, Krishnadas said.

Meanwhile, the recommendations of the Paloli panel, appointed by the Kerala Government to study the ways to implement the Sachar Committee report for upgrading Muslims, have triggered contrasting responses from educationists and sociologists.

While one section sees the recommendations as a big leap towards social justice, the critics opine that these will only help in widening the gulf between the communities.

The committee had earlier submitted its report, prepared after discussion with several Muslim and non-Muslim organisations, to Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan.

The report will now be placed in the Legislative Assembly and the recommendations would be implemented with necessary changes after further discussions.

The report recommends a number of reforms in the educational and job sectors aiming at enhancing the study and living standards of the Muslims in the State.

There are recommendations for the upliftment of the Muslim women. One of the main recommendations of the committee is creation of better facilities for education for the Muslims, including new institutions in the aided sector.

BJP leader and former Union Minister O Rajagopal said that while the importance of social justice could not be overlooked, the authorities should examine why such a situation had come into being.

He says the successive Governments were responsible for the situation in which Muslims are finding themselves now.

In the past 52 years of Kerala’s existence as a full-fledged State, a non-minority Minister had ruled the Education Department only four years. For all the remaining period, it was either a Muslim or a Christian Minister who had ruled the Education Department, Rajagopal points out.

There was enough opportunity to solve the problems on the minority front, he says.

Caste-based upliftment programmes would create only problems. The rulers should look at the actual situation and work for the upliftment of all and not any particular community, he says. Justice should be equal, he added.

While Left leaders justify the report in its entirety, the Opposition UDF, especially the Indian Union Muslim League, is of the view that there is nothing special in the report, which is not there in the Sachar Committee recommendations.

“The Paloli Committee has added some renovation touches to it,” says former Education Minister and Muslim League leader ET Muhammad Basheer.

Muslim League leaders like Basheer and former Public Works Minister MK Muneer claim that if the condition of Muslims in Kerala was slightly better than their counterparts in CPI(M)-controlled West Bengal, its credit should go to the league. However, the general feeling is that the Muslim League claims have already crumbled before the systematic machinations of the CPI(M).

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