The Indian Union Muslim League (M) on Friday welcomed Rahul Gandhi’s statement that the Kerala-based party is completely secular, saying the Congress leader’s assertion came from his party’s experience. IUML general secretary P K Kunhalikutty claimed that the state leadership of the BJP has admitted the role of the Muslim League in guiding Muslims on the right path when many tried to mislead the minority community post-demolition of the Babri Masjid three decades ago.
”Rahul Gandhi’s statement that the Muslim League is a secular party is based on his party’s experience. We look at it with great responsibility. The Muslim League’s close relationship with Congress dates back to the days of Indira Gandhi,” the senior IUML leader said in a Facebook post. IUML, a strong constituent of the Congress-led UDF in Kerala for many decades, had extensively campaigned for Gandhi’s victory from Wayanad Lok Sabha seat in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The BJP on Friday criticised Gandhi for his statement supporting the Kerala party, and alleged that the IUML is guided by the same mindset which was behind Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s All India Muslim League. Amid mounting attacks on Gandhi by the BJP over his statement, Kunhalikutty said the IUML guided the Muslims in India on the 100 per cent right path post-independence. ”The seven-and-a-half-decade history of the League is an open book that has travelled with the nation. The track record of the Muslim League has proved that no one can find communalism or sectarianism anywhere in the ways of the Muslim League,” said Kunhalikutty, who is also a former Kerala minister and the senior MLA of the party in the State Assembly. He said when the Babri Masjid was demolished, many tried to mislead the Muslim community by taking advantage of the opportunity, but it was the Muslim League that defeated them and guided the community to the right path. ”Its beneficial effects have been felt by the country and the society.
At least the BJP members of Kerala have openly admitted this fact,” Kunhalikutty said, adding that even opponents of the IUML have accepted its contribution to strengthening secularism in society. On a tour to the US, Gandhi, answering a question about his party’s alliance with the regional party, told reporters in Washington that the Muslim League is a completely secular party and there is nothing non-secular about it. BJP national spokesperson and MP Sudhanshu Trivedi claimed there was a link between the regional party and Jinnah’s outfit that spearheaded the partition stir among Muslims. He noted that Jinnah’s party had swept the pre-Independence provincial polls in Madras presidency, of which today’s Kerala was then a part. He told reporters in New Delhi that a Malappuram district body had passed a proposal in 2013 to lower the marriage age bar for girls to 16 years from 18, as Muslims were in a majority in the area. The then Congress government, which included the Muslim League, in the state backtracked only after fierce protest from the opposition. Trivedi claimed that for the Congress, parties like AIMIM, Muslim League and Indian Secular Front, a West Bengal party formed by a Muslim cleric, are secular and the PFI, a banned radical Islamic organisation, is a ”cultural” body.