Letter to Sitaram Yechury over ‘Islamophobic statements’ of CPIM Kerala state secretary

A group of nine academics, lawyers, writers and retired bureaucrats have sent a letter to CPIM secretary Sitaram Yechury, expressing concern at recent Islamophobic statements of A. Vijayaraghavan, left party’s Kerala state unit secretary.

“CPIM Acting Secretary Shri Vijayaraghavan has been consistently engaged in Islamophobic statements vitiating the social environment of Kerala. He takes the pretext of criticising Muslim League and Jamat e Islami to unburden himself of hatred for Muslims without reservations. This is not unfamilar in India’s current political terrain as we hear these on daily basis from Sangh Parivar, but from CPIM this has been shocking,” reads the letter.

The letter was signed by retired additional development commissioner and director of the State Institute of Rural Development, P.M. Pareethu Bava Khan, environmental scientist Dr PA Azeez, adv Boby Kunju, writer and producer of the National Award winning film Sri Narayana Guru, Varool Jafer, High Court lawyer former Chairman, Kerala State Wakf Board, adv Saidalikkuty, former HoD, Mechanical Engineering Dept, College of Engineering Trivandrum, professor Abdul Rasheed, former ISRO scientist, M K Abdul Majeed, writers Dr Kayamkulam Younes and Kadakkal Ashraf.

The signatories claimed that Vijayaraghavan accused Muslims of being more communal than the majority communalism In his latest tirade.

“A whole community is vilified. And by trivialising the communalism of the Sangh Parivar, Shri 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,” according to the letter.

In his enthusiasm to attack Muslims, the Kerala left leader 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, the letter states.

They accused Vijayaraghavan of calling people ‘terrorists’ who have been democratically opposing environmentally questionable projects and projects that require displacements because there were visible faces of Muslims.

“He has not been alone in speaking so, unfortunately. Shri Kodiyeri 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 law for protecting the traditions at Sabarimala, to win over conservative Hindus, as if Islamophobia pays.”

The letter also referred and recalled Islamophobic statements of the tall communist leader and former Kerala CM VS Achuthanandan in the past.

The letter went on to stay: “And according to Shri VS Achuthanandan Kerala should now be a Muslim country; he announced at a media meeting at Delhi ten years ago that a certain Muslim group was planning to convert Kerala into a Muslim state in ten years time. 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. But fortunately these girls and boys were not deterred, they kept scoring top marks consistently; the first two ranks in NEET this year in Kerala also went for Muslims, and the exams were conducted by the BJP govt.”

According to the signatories, “the new social engineering the CPIM is doing in Kerala is, strangely, analoguous 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 govt.”

They also warned that “this new social disruption can indeed see the Kerala CPIM itself landing the fate of CPIM in Bengal.”

“Muslims are a severely deprived community as documented by govt appointed committees- Sachar, Narendran and Paloli, and the keralapatanam (2006) of KSSP. Yet the govt has by and large ignored the community in all appointments made outside PSC- boards, corporations, autonomous institutions, etc (we will only be happy if we are proven wrong on this),” the letter further notices.

The document reads: “Shri Vijayaraghavan might be indoctrinated by the orientalist ideas about Muslim as he studied BA Islamic History, or would have been influenced by communal propaganda literature. However, broadcasting such xenophobic ideas from the platform of a movement that was originally meant to be an ultimate form of humanism is tragic. 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.”