KANNUR: CPM Kannur district secretary M V Jayarajan has demanded that Muslim women who queue up in polling booths should remove their face veil. Jayarajan made the controversial comments during the LDF campaign speech at Pilathara on Friday ahead of the repolling on Sunday. Jayarajan’s comment has kicked up a row with the IUML coming out against it.
“The voters should remove their veil when they enter the queue to cast their votes so that their face could be caught in the video camera. The Election Commission should not allow those who enter the booth wearing their veil before the web camera, to cast their votes. If the officials could stop women with face veil, it would help prevent the bogus voting in Pamburuthi and Puthiyangadi. If this happens, the vote share of the LDF in Pamburuthi and Puthiyangadi will increase considerably,” he had said during the election speech.
Earlier, KK Ragesh MP, the LDF election committee chairman, had raised the same demand at a meeting convened by District Collector Mir Muhammad Ali in connection with the repolling in Kannur. K Surendran, the chief election agent of UDF, opposed this demand at the meeting. But, Jayarajan again raised the issue at the election meeting. Jayarajan has also lodged a complaint with the Chief Electoral Officer and the District Collector in this regard.
“To identify the voters who come to the polling booths wearing purdah, removal of the face veil is a must. During the polling held on April 23, around 50 persons had come to the booth wearing veil at Pamburuthi and around 100 persons reached the booth wearing veil at Puthiyangadi. The election officials couldn’t identify the voters as they refused to remove their veil at that time,” Jayarajan stated in the complaint.
LDF candidate P K Sreemathi too supported the demand. “Jayarajan had raised the issue to prevent bogus voting. It’s not an anti-religious statement, said Sreemathi. The IUML has come down heavily against the statements of the CPM leaders. Muslim League district general secretary Abdul Karim Cheleri said the communal mindset of the CPM has been exposed through Jayarajan’s statement.