The Kerala governmentâ€™s decision to leave Waqf Board appointments to the state Public Service Commission (PSC) has triggered a huge row between the CPI(M) and Indian Union Muslim League that even extended to a personal attack against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his family. On December 1, the government announced its decision to leave Waqf appointments to the PSC. The IUML immediately raised objections over non-believers and atheists entering the service through a common examination conducted by PSC.
On December 9, the IUML organised protests against the government decision, and later faced backlash as there were personal attacks against the Chief Minister's family and also on casteist remarks against him in the rally.
Addressing a massive rally organised by IUML in Kozhikode on Thursday, December 9, in protest against the stand of the ruling LDF on Waqf board appointments, IUML party state secretary Abdurahman Kallayi made repulsive remarks and urged League workers to say loudly that the marriage of Public Works Department Minister Riyas with Chief Minister's daughter Veena Vijayan last year was 'illegitimateâ€™. Veena and Riyas married in June last year. The marriage was held when Riyas was the national president of DYFI (Democratic Youth Federation of India). Riyas was elected as an MLA from the Beypore Assembly seat in Kozhikode in the Assembly polls held in April 2021.
Referring to Riyas, Kallayi said, â€śWho is his wife? Is this a marriage? It is an illegitimate relationship," he said, urging IUML workers to display the courage to say it.
The Muslim League leader also attacked the DYFI for its stand on homosexuality. Referring to the CPI(M)'s election manifesto for 2019 Lok Sabha polls which had promised legal recognition and protection to same sex couples, Abdurahman Kallayi alleged that sexual anarchy was being encouraged in society. Kallayi later apologized, but police have registered a case against his derogatory remarks. The case against the Muslim League leader was registered on the basis of a complaint given by Mujeeb, a local CPI(M) leader.
IUML workers shouted slogans in the rally such as: "Kerala is not the dowry received for toddy tapper Koran (Pinarayi Vijayan's father)."
Meanwhile, former Azhikode MLA and Muslim Youth League leader KM Shaji said in his speech that those who join CPI(M) by leaving IUML are also leaving the religion. Shaji hinted that being a Muslim, one should be part of the IUML. Following this, CM Pinarayi Vijayan reacted that IUML should decide themselves on whether they are a religious organisation or a political party.
Replying to him, senior IUML leader and MLA MK Muneer said, "Is Pinarayi a Communist?". Most followers of the Communist party also believe that Pinarayi Vijayan is not a Communist, the IUML leader claimed.
Talking to the media on Saturday, December 11, former minister Muneer said that the Muslim League was a political party and was a key ally of the Left government headed by Communist leader EMS Namboodiripad during 1967-1969.
The Muslim League leader said it was out of fear over the massive turnout at the rally that prompted the Chief Minister's police to register cases against League cadres. The fight by the party on the Waqf Board issue will continue, Muneer added.
Meanwhile, CPI(M) leader and state general education minister V Sivankutty said the Chief Minister's question as to whether the League is a political party or a religious organisation is relevant.
He attacked Muneer for questioning the CM's Communist credentials, saying Vijayan does not need any sort of certificate from the Muslim League leader.
However, various Sunni Muslim leaders have extended support to the governmentâ€™s move as they believe that Waqf many properties were 'snatched away' by Mujahidis with the support of the IUML. Samastha Kerala Jam-Iyyathul Ulema president Syed Muhammad Jiffiri Muthukoya Thangal has refused to support IUML in the protests against the governmentâ€™s decision. Jiffri Thangal's stand was indirectly supported by Samastha's rival faction, led by Kanthapuram A P Aboobacker Musaliar, as many leaders of the faction shared Thangal's Facebook post.
The Chief Minister had held talks with top Sunni Muslim clerics in the state on December 7 and assured them that the decision on leaving the appointments to the PSC will be taken only after a detailed discussion. During his meeting with the Samastha leaders, the Chief Minister dismissed as "baseless" the propaganda that non-Muslims will also get jobs in Waqf Board by authorising the PSC to make appointments to the Muslim religious board in the state. In a statement, the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said Vijayan has informed Samastha leaders that the decision on leaving the appointments to the PSC was taken by the Waqf Board.
"Waqf board took the decision and conveyed it to the government. It was not the government's suggestion. Therefore, the government has no doggedness on the matter", the CM said.
Promising that detailed discussions will be held regarding leaving the appointments of Waqf Board to PSC, Pinarayi Vijayan also said the status quo will continue until a decision is made on the matter. Samastha leaders K Ali Kutty Musliyar, K Umer Faizy Mukkam, Adrissery Hamsa Kutty Musliyar, Dr N A M Abdul Kader, Abdussamad Pukottur, K Moinkutty Master and Onampilly Muhammad Faizy participated in the meeting.
With Inputs from PTI