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Thursday, Dec 08, 2022

Kerala: Congress, ally IUML welcome PFI ban; CPM silent but Yechury says ban not a solution

Reacting to the Centre’s ban on the PFI, CPI(M) state secretary and party central committee member M V Govindan Master said, “Let the national leadership of the party make clear its stand on the issue.”

Broken windshield of a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation bus after some miscreants threw stones on it, during the 'hartal' called by Popular Front of India (PFI) in protest against the nationwide arrest of its leaders by National Investigation Agency and Enforcement Directorate, in Thiruvananthapuram, Sept 23, 2022. (PTI)

The ruling CPI(M) In Kerala on Wednesday appeared to remain tight-lipped in its response to the Centre’s ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI), while the Opposition Congress and its ally the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) welcomed the Union government’s action.

Reacting to the development, CPI(M) state secretary and party central committee member M V Govindan Master said, “Let the national leadership of the party make clear its stand on the issue.”

Later, Yechury said “politically isolating” such organisations and taking strict action against their illegal activities would be the best way forward. “The BJP president says Kerala is a hotspot of terrorism. If he wants to stop this kind of terrorism, he must tell the RSS to stop its retaliatory killings. Let the state administration take action. State administration will take firm action against extremist organisations, be it Popular Front of India (PFI) or anybody else,” he said.

“The politics of sharpening communal polarisation, of spreading hatred and terror and bulldozer politics was not the answer to strengthening secular democratic foundations of India. It only serves to create an atmosphere for growth of extremist organisations and their activities,” Yechury added.

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“A ban is not a solution to tackle this problem. We have seen what our own experience and India’s experience has been. RSS was banned thrice after Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination. Has anything stopped? The polarisation campaigns of hate and terror, anti-minoritism, genocide of minorities, all these continue,” he alleged.

Yechury also said the growth of extremism based on religious polarisation has to end along with the “patronage” that nurtures it. He said Kerala CPI(M) leaders were not against the ban on PFI, they were only saying that if PFI was being banned, so should the RSS.

On Monday, Govindan had stated that a ban was not a solution. “If communal organisations are to be banned, it is the RSS that should be banned first. The campaign that the CPI(M) has a nexus with the SDPI is baseless. The CPI(M) does not have the view that the PFI should be banned against the backdrop of the present crackdown. If it is banned, the outfit would resurface in other forms,” he had said. The Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) is the political wing of the PFI.

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The CPI(M) is treading cautiously as PFI supporters form a significant part of the vote bank in Muslim-dominated areas in Kerala. There have been allegations that the CPI(M) was backed by the SDPI in the last Assembly elections in the state.

Meanwhile, Congress legislator and Opposition leader V D Satheesan welcomed the ban. “The Congress is equally opposed to majority fundamentalism and minority fundamentalism. We are against any organisation that spreads hatred. At the same time, it is not possible to restrain organisations such as the PFI through a mere ban,” he said.

“Both PFI and RSS are trying to divide people. At any cost, outfits like these should be controlled. The Congress had never compromised with these outfits. The RSS and PFI survive on the basis of a mutual understanding between them,’’ Satheesan added.

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In Delhi, Senior Congress leader A K Antony echoed the view that a ban on the outfit is not a solution.

Senior IUML leader M K Muneer too welcomed the ban. “Youths associated with the PFI should leave that outfit and side with secular forces. Nobody has assigned to PFI the right to take on the RSS on behalf of the Muslim community. They have been misinterpreting Islam. They are asking people to take weapons. Islamic scholars have always been against the PFI,’’ he said.

With PTI inputs

First published on: 28-09-2022 at 12:11:04 pm
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