Islamist mouthpiece in Kerala loses CPM patronage

via By Arun Lakshman - published on June 7, 2010

IN a move which has surprised many Islamist’s and new generation liberals, the state public relations department has stopped giving advertisements to Thejas, mouthpiece of the Islamist fundamentalist organisation Popular Front.

Sources in the PRD while speaking to this reporter said that the newly enforced ban was following a directive from the Central Home Department following reports from investigation agencies including the Central Intelligence Bureau and the RAW.

The Popular Front and its earlier avatar the NDF were always under the radar of the central intelligence agencies owing to the activities pursued by this organisation from the mid ninetees when it evolved in the socio political sphere of the state.

According to inputs available with this reporter, Thejas was not given advertisements pending an investigation, following some articles printed in it, including publishing a map of India with which Kashmir missing from it.

Another factor which contributed to such a strong action from the Indian government and the central agencies was the Thejas describing the miscreants in Kashmir as “Warriors” and describing their anti-national activities as Holy War. Sources indicated that the paper by these actions has indeed invited the ban upon them.

The Union Home Secretary had in a letter addressed to the Chief Secreatry called for a ban on releasing advertisements to Thejas and sources indicated that the Chief Secretary had called upon the director of state public relations for a detailed report on the above incidents as well as certain other reports which could be termed as anti-national published by this paper. The present ban on releasing government advertisements to the paper can be lifted if the report from the Public Relations Department gives a clean chit to Thejas, which in all likelyhood may not happen.

After the ban was effected, the state government had not given a single advertisement to Thejas and recently the state government is in a blitzering advertisement campaign following its fourth anniversary. Almost all newspapers registered and accredited with the state public relations department had received the advertisements while Thejas had to loose all this.

However, with the panchayat elections round the corner and the state going for assembly elections by May 2011, the Popular Front has started using its clout with Congress leadership, which is desperately trying to gain political control in the state. Sources indicated that a first time Congress MP from North Kerala, was trying hard to convince the authorities on behalf of the Popular Front. The organisation is expecting respite from the current ban by using the good offices of the sitting MP.

Interestingly, the CPI-M led Left Front government knows for sure that the Popular Front will not be supporting it in the ensuing panchayat and assembly elections and so wants to continue with the ban which the PRD has implemented on the mouth piece of the organisation for the time being.

Another major aspect which needs attention is the mad drive shown by certain Islamist organisations in entering the channel arena. While nationalist dailies like Mathrubhumi and Kerala Kaumudi are in the race for starting news channels, quite welcomingly, the Islamist organisations are also desperately trying to set up a foot hold in the air. The Jamat-e-Islami with its news paper Madhyamam is already in the news industry and the organisation which is receiving flak from both the LDF and the UDF wants to start up a news channel and just like it tried to win over several former Naxalites into its fold through Madhyamam, it is trying to rope in one of the doyens of Kerala’s television industry Sasikumar who was instrumental in starting the states’ popular channel Asianet.

The Muslim League leader and former Minister Dr MK Muneer is already the chairman of the Indiavision news channel and now his bête noire in the League and party’s all powerful general secretary PK Kunhalikutty is in the process of starting a news channel on his own.

The Popular Front and Thejas, quite certain that they will not be allowed license to start a news channel is now in the process of operating the news channel from the shores of an Arabian country and to beam the news through some local cable networks which are controlled by the Muslim groups in the northern parts of Kerala. Sources indicated that the organisation wants to, atleast, establish the fact that it is also in the business of news channel in Kerala.

With the issue of Love Jihad creating major friction and fissure in the state, the advent of new channels and the activities of the Thejas newspaper are major issues which could create further antagonisation between the Muslims and other communities in the state.

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