Kerala CPM’s unhealthy communal shift for electoral gains: open letter to Sitaram Yechury

The letter, written by eminent personalities, alleged that CPM secretary A Vijayaraghavan is accusing Muslims of being “more communal than majority communalism”, thus trivialising the Sangh Parivar
Sitaram Yechury
Sitaram YechuryTwitter: @CPIM_WESTBENGAL

An eminent group of individuals have written to CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on the shocking shift the Left has taken to gain electoral dividends in Kerala.

Retired Additional Development Commissioner (Rural Development) PM Pareethu Bava Khan, Environmental Scientist Dr PA Azeez, advocate Boby Kunju, writer Varool Jafer, advocate TK Saidalikutty, Professor Abdul Rasheed, former ISRO scientist MK Abdul Majeed and writers Dr Kayamkulam Younes and Kadakkal Ashraf wrote to Yechury bringing attention to how the party is engaging in “Islamophobic” statements.

In the letter, the group alleged that CPI (M) acting secretary A Vijayaraghavan is accusing Muslims of being “more communal than the majority communalism”. “A whole community is vilified. And by trivialising the communalism of the Sangh Parivar, Vijayaraghavan has betrayed the trust the secular, democratic forces of the country have invested in CPIM as a partner in the struggle for a saner future for the country. In his enthusiasm to attack Muslims, he undermines the struggle of Indians- farmers, students, writers, minorities, Dalits- against a communal formation that has come to rule us and indeed he acquits them,” they wrote in the letter.

The group of individuals also pointed out name-calling those holding a different viewpoint than that of the ruling political party has become a “timepass” for politicians. They alleged that Vijayaraghavan has been liberally practising name-calling despite “communists themselves being one of the targets”. “He was calling people “terrorists” who have been democratically opposing environmentally questionable projects and projects that require displacements because there were visible faces of Muslims,” they added.

The individuals alleged that CPM leaders such as Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and former Kerala CM VS Achuthanandan have also made Islamophobic remarks in the past. “Balakrishnan has said that UDF is led by x, y and z (three Muslim names), in a way to create worry among the Hindus. This was an attempt to score over UDF that has vowed to enact a law for protecting the traditions at Sabarimala,” they said, continuing, “Ten years ago, VS Achuthanandan announced at a media meeting in Delhi that a certain Muslim group was planning to convert Kerala into a Muslim state in ten years. He had also said when Muslim girls and boys won top ranks in exams that they were getting such results by copying in the exams! That was when UDF’s education minister was a Muslim.”

They added that despite Achuthanandan’s statements, these Muslim children were not deterred. “They kept scoring top marks consistently. This year, the first two ranks in NEET in Kerala also went to Muslims, and the exams were conducted by the BJP government,” the eminent individuals pointed out.

The group of individuals explained to Yechury that they were writing to him “not so much out of concerns for Muslims” but because CPI (M) is resorting to social disruption in Kerala. “We are writing this not so much out a concern for Muslims, for Muslims had faced phenomenal challenges in the past five hundred years. Our concern is about the possible destruction of the social fabric of Kerala… The new social engineering the CPI(M) is doing in Kerala is strangely analogous to reactionary politics of the vimochanasamaram of the past where the orthodoxies of various religions caused immense social disruption in their effort to overthrow a democratically elected Left government. We wonder why CPI (M) is resorting to social disruption in Kerala…”

The group said that the Muslims are a deprived community and the government continues to ignore the community. “Muslims are a severely deprived community as documented by government-appointed committees like Sachar, Narendran and Paloli, and the Keralapatanam (2006) of KSSP. Yet the government has ignored the community in all appointments made outside PSC — boards, corporations, autonomous institutions, etc.,” the group said.

The group also alleged that Vijayaraghavan would name-call and abuse Muslim founding members of the CPI (M) who helped build the communist party and made immense sacrifices for the freedom of the country. They added that broadcasting such xenophobic ideas from the platform of a movement that was originally meant to be an ultimate form of humanism is itself a tragedy. “And more so targeting a religion whose scripture decrees that an individual is only a trusty of his wealth, not owner, and has justice and equality as its founding pillars,” the group concluded in their letter.

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