Thiruvananthapuram | The Congress-led UDF on Monday rallied behind Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) state President Panakkad Sayyid Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal whose recent statement that there is no need to protest against the Ram temple constructed at Ayodhya drew criticism from various quarters.
In a statement made during an event on January 24 at Manjeri in Malappuram District, Thangal had said that both the new temple and the proposed mosque would "strengthen secularism" in the country.
IUML is a major ally of the Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala and an influential political party among the Muslim community.
Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly V D Satheesan and senior IUML leader P K Kunhalikutty today reiterated that Thangal had made a balanced statement against those who were trying to exploit communal sentiments and spread a hate campaign.
Talking to the media along the sidelines of the budget session at the state assembly today, Satheesan said he appreciates Thangal's statement.
Stating that Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal was carrying on the legacy of Panakkad Sayyid Muhammedali Shihab Thangal, he recalled, "When the Babri Masjid was demolished, across the nation there were communal riots but in Kerala we prevented it only because of the stand taken by Muhammedali Shihab Thangal. Now, Sadiq Ali Thangal has made a balanced statement." The senior Congress leader said Thangal's words were meant to prevent a "split among the people", and thwart attempts at a hate campaign aimed at making people fight each other.
"We need the (people) of various religions in the state to peacefully coexist. So I appreciate Thangal's statement," Satheesan said.
Kunhalikutty also stressed on the need for communal harmony and said the IUML has always worked towards it.
"What Thangal was trying to say is that people with a communal agenda are trying to exploit the situation and it is a trap, and not to fall into that trap. A political party like the BJP is using it for the coming election, especially on an all-India basis. His advise is not to fall into that trap," Kunhalikutty explained.
The IUML leader said all other controversies were just interpretations of other "interested parties".
Addressing the event at Manjeri, Thangal had said that the Ram temple which is "worshipped and revered by the majority of the people" in the country "is a reality" and that one cannot go back from that.
Recalling that Indian Muslims protested against the destruction of the Babri Masjid by karsevaks but dealt with it in a mature manner, he urged the community to follow the same path.
Coming out against Thangal's statement, the Indian National League (INL), a coalition partner of the ruling CPI(M) led-LDF government in Kerala, had lashed out at him, saying that political leaders like the IUML state president are not ignorant of the fact that Gandhi's Ram Rajya is different from the Ram Rajya of the RSS.
"The spiritual Hindu religion of a believer is different from the political Hindutva of the RSS, and the political leaders are not ignorant of this fact," INL Kerala State Secretariat Member N K Abdul Azeez remarked. "Yet they are making a fool of its ranks." "It's not possible to believe that the ordinary party workers of IUML will accept this position," Azeez added.