Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Ramesh Chennithala, on Saturday, said imposing a ban on toddy tapping was an impractical preposition since a large number of people depended on it for a living.

Responding to the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML)’s opposition to the proliferation of toddy shops, Mr. Chennithala said the IUML had always stood for total prohibition.

The Congress was also for prohibition and the party had made its stand clear years ago. But this was possible only in stages, as recommended by the A.P. Udayabhanu committee, he pointed out.

BJP criticised

Staff Reporter writes from Kalpetta, Wayanad:

IUML is not promoting Islamic fundamentalism, Union Minister of State for Home Mullappally Ramachandran has said. Mr. Ramachandran was talking to mediapersons after attending a function organised to launch the Wayanad Chamber of Commerce here on Saturday. A political resolution adopted by the national executive of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at Surajkund in Haryana on Friday stated that the IUML had been promoting fundamentalism in the southern States. The stance of the BJP was wrong, Mr. Ramachandran said.

Islamic fundamentalist groups were active in the State but there was no credible evidence to link IUML to it. Also, there was active propagation of Maoist ideology in the State but reports of the Intelligence Bureau stated that none of those spreading such ideology was involved with any Maoist organisations functioning in parts of the country, he said.

The government was not inclined to oppress Maoist groups using force. The issue was being treated as a socio-economic one, the Minister said. The Home Ministry was considering the setting up of a battalion of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in Wayanad. Over a 100 acres of land would be needed, Mr. Ramachandran said.

As the district shared its borders with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, these States would also stand to benefit. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had responded positively to the demand, he said.

The police investigation had established the involvement of CPI(M) leaders in the murder of Revolutionary Marxist Party leader T.P. Chandrasekharan, he added.

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