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CPI(M) expels Ekbal, Elamon

By Our Special Correspondent

B. Ekbal

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, JUNE 1. The CPI(M) State committee has decided to expel B. Ekbal, former Kerala Univesrsity Vice-Chancellor and widely respected intellectual, and Joy Elamon, chief coordinator of CAPDEC, a Swiss-funded initiative for capacity development for decentralisation in Kerala, from the party.

In a terse statement here today, the CPI(M) committee said Dr. Ekbal and Dr. Elamon were being expelled from the party as the explanations tendered by them in response to a show-cause notice issued by the party on the foreign funding question were not satisfactory.

The committee said statements made by Dr. Ekbal recently also involved serious deviation from party policies and that Dr. Elamon was guilty of having continued as chief programme coordinator of CAPDEC beyond his normal tenure without obtaining permission from the party. The party, it may be recalled, had decided to expel M. P. Parameswaran, one of the founder leaders of the Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP) some time ago for his having propounded what has come to be known as the `Fourth World Theory'.

Dr. Ekbal, a neurosurgeon, had played a major role in the People's Plan Campaign, the celebrated democratic decentralisation initiative along with T. M. Thomas Isaac and E. M. Sreedharan. He had angered sections of the party with his recent statements and articles on the responsibility of the working class to protect public institutions at a time when the forces of privatisation were mounting heavy onslaughts on the public sector and commonly-owned institutions.

Dr. Elamon, a former student member of the Kerala University Syndicate representing the Students Federation of India (SFI), was forced to give up his job with the Nuclear Power Corporation (NPC) when faced with dismissal on account of his having been active in the Communist movement. He has been active in the people's health movement in the State and the People's Plan Campaign.

Dr. Ekbal had earned the wrath of sections of the CPI(M) for his statement at the Kerala Social Forum, held at Thrissur late last year, that the Left had failed in its responsibility to protect public institutions. The CITU State general secretary, P. K. Gurudasan, had reacted sharply to the statement and accused Dr. Ekbal of having turned into agents for the globalisation and privatisation forces.

Dr. Ekbal had strongly defended international cooperation in research at the height of the controversy over foreign funding for decentralisation-related studies. Dr. Ekbal and Dr. Elamon were involved in a health research programme with foreign funding and this too is one of the charges against them.

When contacted for his reaction to the party decision, Dr. Ekbal said he would continue to be part of the `broad Left movement'. The party decision was a sad development, but he was still firm in his view that international cooperation in research was a necessity and that the Left had failed in its duty to protect public institutions. His attempt was to make a self-critical evaluation of the situation and present a few proposals on what strategies the Left should adopt to shape a new Kerala, Dr. Ekbal said.

Dr. Elamon said he would continue to be part of the CPI(M) family regardless of his expulsion from the party. He refused to comment on the action and its reasons.

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