Paloli report: Protests spread

via Pioneer News Service | Kochi / Malappuram published on February 23, 2008

Opposition to the LDF Government’s alleged bid to make inroads into the Muslim vote-bank in the State in the name of the Rajinder Sachar Committee report is growing by the day. Political and community leaders and scholars have expressed apprehension that the determined efforts of the CPI(M) in this direction would create intolerance among the religious communities of the State.

In the context of the recommendations by the committee appointed by the Government with Local Administration Minister Paloli Muhammad Kutty to search for ways to implement the Sachar panel suggestions, several sections have protested that the CPI(M) was trying to pocket the whole Muslim vote-bank. This would lead to a different kind of partition inside the State, they say.

The Paloli Committee had submitted its report to Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan on Thursday. The committee has recommended several measures claimed to be for enhancing the social, educational and economical status of the Muslims of the State.

PK Narayana Panicker, general secretary of the Nair Service Society (NSS), said on Saturday that the implementation of the Sachar committee report could land the country in total chaos. Describing the report as a ‘crude’ document, he said that his outfit would take a strong position against the implementation of the report.

Inaugurating the regional conference of the NSS at Vandoor in Malappuram district, the community leader alleged that a definite move was on to appease the minorities in the name of minority rights. “We can’t remain silent spectators to this,” he said.

He also alleged that the same Government, which was enthusiastic about upgrading the quality of life of the minorities, was trying to take away the rights of the faithful among the majority community. In an apparent reference to the developments at Sabarimala and Guruvayur temples, he said the sole reason for the situation was the Government’s practice of posting atheists in key positions in places of worship.

Pointing at the contradiction in the efforts of the communist Government to meld atheism, theism and modern technology, sociologist Soman Achary warned that the efforts of the regime to make short-term achievements would lead the State to irreparable social conflicts. Agreeing to the argument that Muslims in several regions of the State had to be uplifted socially and educationally, he said the route the Government took for this was totally wrong.

“Both the UPA regime in the Centre and the LDF Government in Kerala are treading a path of fire to make short-term electoral achievements. There should be programmes for establishing social justice but it should be universal. Any bid to implement social justice without looking at the equality aspect would create chaos,” he said.

Alappuzha-based historian Ajith Kumar says that nobody in a civilized society would oppose a responsible Government’s sincere efforts to establish social justice, but the intention behind the LDF Government’s mover was crudely political.

“I for one do not oppose the efforts to uplift Muslims educationally. But when this is done to break the backbone of an already popular Muslim party and to make electoral advantages from it, that should be opposed,” he said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party had the other day said it would organize intense agitations against the plan to implement the recommendations of the Paloli committee. State BJP president PK Krishnadas had asked the Government to reject the Paloli committee recommendations, which if implemented would create imbalance among communities in Kerala.

Senior 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 said the successive governments were responsible for the situation in which Muslims were finding themselves now, if the findings of the Paloli committee were true.

In the past 52 years of Kerala’s existence as a full-fledged State, a non-minority Minister had ruled the Education Department for only four years. For all the remaining period, it was either a Muslim or a Christian Minister who had ruled the Education Department, Rajagopal pointed out. There was enough opportunity to solve the problems on the minority front, but this had not been done, he said.

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