A CPM leader in Kerala has alleged that “Islamic extremists” operating in Kozhikode are helping Maoists, earning the party furious criticism from Muslim groups and Maoist sympathisers.
P. Mohanan’s comments come at a time the Left government is under fire over the killings of Maoists in alleged fake encounters and the arrests of two student CPM activists under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for alleged Maoist leanings.
“Islamic extremists are encouraging the Maoists. That’s why they are being seen in Kozhikode,” the district CPM secretary was quoted as telling a party meeting on Monday.
“They are alike. That’s why organisations like the NDF show so much enthusiasm for helping the Maoists.”
The National Development Front, a Right-wing Muslim group, is now known as the Popular Front of India.
Kerala police commandos have gunned down seven Maoists since the Left Democratic Front government came to power in May 2016.
Kuppu Devraj and Ajitha were killed in November 2016, C.P. Jaleel in March this year, and Manivasagan, Aravind, Karthi and Rema — a woman -— in October.
Ummer Pandikasala, Kozhikode district president of the Indian Union Muslim League — a constituent of the Congress-led United Democratic Front — denied Mohanan’s allegations. “His statement is aimed at covering up the crisis within the CPM, which has become the refuge of the Maoists,” Pandikasala said.
He was alluding to the recent arrests of CPM functionary Alan Shuhaib and party youth wing leader Thaha Fazal on charges of propagating the Maoist ideology.
Pandikasala asked the CPM to reveal the names of all the Islamic groups at which Mohanan was pointing a finger.
Muslim League state secretary M.K. Muneer said he was taking the allegations “very seriously” and added that the “very description ‘Islamic extremism’ is incorrect”.
T.A. Rauf, state committee member of the Popular Front of India, alleged that the CPM’s own cadres were joining the Maoists and sought an explanation from the ruling party.
Leader of the Opposition and Congress veteran Ramesh Chennithala raised the subject in the Assembly, urging the government to explain Mohanan’s allegations and name all the extremist groups the politician had in mind. He added that extremism should not be linked to any religion.
Sports minister P. Jayarajan, intervening on behalf of the government, tried to dodge the issue.
“There’s no need for the Assembly to take up something that was said outside,” he said in a one-line response.
The BJP grabbed the opportunity to target two birds with one stone.
“It’s true that Islamic extremists have infiltrated the CPM. The government must explain what the CPM leader said,” state BJP spokesperson B. Gopalakrishnan said.
Former state BJP president Kummanam Rajasekharan too alleged links between CPM cadres and Right-wing Islamic groups and demanded a probe.
C.P. Rasheed, brother of slain Maoist leader Jaleel, accused the CPM of a shift to the Right. “The CPM has gravitated towards the Right wing, forgetting its own ideology,” Rasheed told The Telegraph on Tuesday.
“I’m sure Mohanan has not even read the Communist Manifesto. The CPM organises Sri Krishna Jayanti and other religious events against the very tenets of communist ideology. That’s why they assume that all those working for the neglected tribal people are terrorists.”