Staff Reporter

MALAPPURAM: Asghar Ali Engineer, Islamic scholar and social activist, said here on Tuesday that misusing religion to wield political power would lead to bloodshed and dangerous consequences. He was inaugurating a seminar on ‘Malappuram peruma' organised as part of the Kerala Youth Forum 2010.

Mr. Engineer described Malappuram district as a role model for peace and communal harmony. He recalled the hue and cry raised by communal forces when Malappuram district was formed more than 40 years ago and criticised those who campaigned against Malappuram.

When post-Independent India witnessed 38,000 communal riots, losing 33,000 lives and property, no major riot occurred in Kerala, he said. Excepting the riot of Murshidabad, according to Mr. Engineer, riots largely spared Bengal too.

Kerala's Muslims

He said the lives and properties lost in communal riots were not just that of a community.

“It was a loss for India,” he said. When more than 65 per cent of Muslims in Kerala opted for family planning, less than 30 per cent of Hindus in other parts of the country adopted it. He said it was due to better education made available for the people of Kerala.

Mr. Engineer said the condition of Muslims elsewhere in the country worsened after Independence.

“The Sachar Committee has found that Muslims in the country were living below the level of Dalits,” he said.

Abdussamad Samadani, Indian Union Muslim League leader, presided over the function. Delivering the keynote address, social critic Sukumar Azhikode said that it was the unity of the people of Malappuram that made the district celebrate its ‘peruma' or glory.

K.P. Anil, convener of the Kerala Youth Forum 2010, welcomed the gathering. P. Sreeramakrishnan, vice-chairman of the Youth Welfare Board, also spoke.