KOZHIKODE: Leaders of the Muslim community have cautioned against the possibility of vested interests misdirecting the discussions on the controversial 80:20 ratio for educational scholarships for the minorities that has been struck down by the Kerala High Court.
Even while asserting that Muslims should get what is due to them as per the Sachar Commission report, they want to ensure the deliberations do not further vitiate the communal situation in Kerala.
“Attempts to draw communal leverage from the controversy have been visible in Kerala for the past one year. It was intense during the elections to the local bodies and assembly,” said A I Abdul Majeed Swalahi, secretary of the Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen (KNM).
“There was a competition between the BJP and CPM in the move to get maximum mileage from the controversy. But it was the CPM that won the race,” he said, adding that such attempts would continue in the future too. Samvarana Samrakshana Samithi general convener Abdusamad Pookkottur said there are enough indications to suspect the role of the Sangh Parivar in keeping the controversy alive. Addressing a news conference on Saturday, he said some WhatsApp messages are doing the rounds as part of the concerted move to widen the schism between the Muslim and Christian communities.
Sunni leader Kanthapuram A P Aboobacker Musaliar also expressed concern over the debates on the court order with the two communities taking opposite positions. In a statement, Kanthapuram said extreme caution should be maintained to prevent the “communalists” from taking advantage of the situation.’ “Efforts are needed to counter the move to present it as a Muslim-Christian issue and to create misunderstanding among our fraternal community,” he said. At the same time, Muslim organisations want to convey to society that the discussions on the topic often do not present the correct picture of the issue. Pookkottur said that there is an argument that public fund cannot be doled out to one community alone. However, there are schemes exclusively for other communities also, he said.
Financial assistance is given to the converted Christians through a development corporation set up by the government. But no Muslim has ever questioned as to how the government money could be spent for religious conversion, he said. Pookkottur said the Justice J B Koshy Commission constituted to study the issues of the Christian community consists of persons from one community alone. The Sachar Commission had non-Muslim members, but we never raised any objection, he said.
Rebutting the claim that Muslims got more than what they deserve, he said there are around 170 unaided institutions in Kerala and a majority of them are run by the Christian community. “The LDF government had sanctioned 900 posts and more than half had gone to institutions run by Christians,” he added. He said representation of Muslims in top government jobs is dismal. “There had been 46 chief secretaries in Kerala since 1956 and only one Muslim had held the post, that too only for a brief period,” Pookkottur said.