A day after the National Investigating Agency questioned Kerala Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel in connection with the gold smuggling case, the CPI(M) on Friday referred to the Opposition’s protest against him as an “anti-Quran” agitation.
Probes into the gold smuggling by multiple agencies have revealed that Jaleel had accepted religious texts and food kits from the UAE Consulate, bypassing protocol norms and without getting duty exemption from the state.
The consignments were taken in a government vehicle to a private religious institute in Malappuram for distribution at the behest of the minister, despite the institute not putting forward any request. Investigating agencies have suspected presence of contraband in the consignment as key accused Swapna Suresh was also privy to these shipments.
With the Congress and its ally Indian Union Muslim League mounting its protests against Jaleel, CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, in his weekly column in party daily Deshabhimani, termed the protest against the state minister and the LDF government as an “anti-Quran agitation”.
“IUML is adding fire to the anti-Quran agitation of RSS. Congress will also be with IUML in that act. We are opposing the agitation against Quran on the ground that no religious text should become subject of ridicule,” he wrote.
Speaking after the CPI(M) secretariat meeting, Balakrishnan also rejected the Opposition demand for Jaleel’s resignation.
The Opposition has rejected Balakrishnan’s charges and has accused the LDF of communalising the issue.
Congress state president Mullappally Ramachandran said, “The government has lost its face. Using the Quran for political ends is dangerous.”
IUML national general secretary P K Kunhalikutty said the CPI(M) and Jaleel should answer to the allegations related to the gold smuggling.
BJP state chief K Surendran said, “CPI(M) is trying to project Jaleel as the symbol of a religion. It is communalising the issue.”
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