: Sunni leader Kanthapuram Musaliar has taken strong exception to Communist Party of India (Marxist) secretary Pinarayi Vijayan's veiled reference to the “sacred relic” controversy in a speech on Monday at a CPI(M)-sponsored seminar and warned that political interference in religious matters might foment communal tension and so should be avoided.

Kanthapuram Musaliar, who claims to possess the “sacred hair of Prophet” and has launched a building complex to keep it as an exhibit, said the CPI(M) leader was not competent to comment on the “sacred hair” controversy since it was purely a religious matter.

He said it was an issue that had to be discussed within the Muslim community; political interference in such matters were fraught with dangerous consequences, he warned when a group of presspersons met him on Monday to seek his reaction to Mr. Vijayan's comments.

What provoked the Sunni leader, whose claims about “holy hair” is being challenged by groups within Muslim community itself, was the comment reportedly made on Monday by the CPI(M) leader at a seminar held in Vadakara taluk on ‘(social reformer) Vagbhatandan and renaissance in Kerala' as a run-up to the 20th CPI(M) Congress coming up in April.

At the seminar, Mr. Vijayan had stressed the need to put up strong resistance against movements that would facilitate revival of superstitions and religious obscurantism and observed there were more photographs of Godmen and Godwomen in prayer rooms in Hindu homes than of Hindu Gods.

In the land of Sree Narayana Guru, who did not support idol worship, new idols were being worshipped, Mr. Vijayan said and added “though we all know hair belonging to anyone would be burnt if it was set afire there is a group which claims there is hair that would not get burnt. There is another group that says hair would definitely get burnt if set afire.”