VS statement on NDF irks Oppn. Muslims

via VR Jayaraj | Kozhikode - Daily Pioneer published on July 26, 2010

Kerala’s octogenarian Marxist Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan has irked the various Muslim organizations and the Opposition Congress in Kerala with his statement that Islamist outfits like the Popular Front of India (formerly NDF) were aiming to transform Kerala into a Muslim-majority state in 20 years.

Speaking to newsmen in Delhi the other day, Achuthanandan had also agreed partially with allegations about Kerala Islamists’ Love Jihad campaign by saying that the extremists were using money and marriage as tools to convert youths into Islam. The LDF Government and the State police had earlier rejected the allegations on Love Jihad when the issue had come up in the High Court.

“The extremists are adopting strategies like attracting youths (of other religions) by paying them money and persuading them marry Muslim girls” with the objective of making Kerala a Muslim-majority state, he said. The Popular Front’s operations involved cutting off of limbs of rivals and murdering them, he said in the context of the July 4 attack on a professor in Muvattupuzha for blaspheming Prophet Muhammad.

The Opposition Congress and its allies, like the Indian Union Muslim League, reacted furiously to the statement of the Chief Minister but vast sections of the Kerala society including historians and intellectuals congratulated Achuthanandan for being bold enough to “speak the truth” without fear for the prospects of vote-bank loss. However, several CPI(M) leaders refused to comment on the Chief Minister’s statement.

The Popular Front itself was predictably furious and its State president Nazeeruddin Elamaram wanted to know whether the CPI(M) shared the Chief Minister’s perspective. “Achuthanandan could have made such statement if he was just a Marxist party leader. But when he speaks like this being the Chief Minister, it will cause worries among an entire community,” he warned.

The Jama’at-e-Islami, which had already been accused by the CPI(M) of harbouring extremist ideology, said that Achuthanandan was, with his statement, effectively smothering the natural protests from among the Muslim community against the terror elements. Kerala Jama’at Amir T Arifali wanted Achuthanandan to withdraw his statement.

Historian MGS Narayanan told the media that what Achuthanandan said was true
but the way in which he said it and its intent were mysterious. “There is truth in what he said. But the intention with which it is said is to be suspected … The Muslims of Kerala should show the maturity to tolerate even criticisms on Prophet (Muhammad),” Narayanan said.

State Muslim League general secretary PK Kunhalikkutty said Achuthanandan’s statement proved that he was eager to save his shaking chair. “We suspect that Achuthanandan had made that statement after consulting with extremists,” he told newsmen in Kozhikode. The outfits whom the Chief Minister was attacking were still allies of the CPI(M)-led LDF, he charged.

“Nobody has made a statement in such bad taste in the entire history of Kerala. There have been several instances before where leaders had felt insecure. But none of they had made such a statement. The people would want to reject this with disgust and hatred,” Kunhalikkutty, accused by a section in his own party as being soft towards the extremists, said.

Opposition leader Oommen Chandy said in Kottayam that the Chief Minister had humiliated the entire Muslim community in the name of the Popular Front, which according to the Congress, was an extremist organization. State Congress’s spokesman MM Hassan said Achuthanandan’s allegation about efforts to turn Kerala into a Muslim-majority state was an affront to all Muslims in the State.

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