Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) State president K. Surendran on Wednesday accused the Indian National League (INL) of having links with Rehab India Foundation, an alleged Popular Front of India (PFI) front organisation. Mr. Surendran demanded that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan seek the resignation of Ports Minister and INL leader Ahammad Devarkovil’s resignation for suspected extremist links. Otherwise, the BJP would agitate against the government on the streets, Mr. Surendran said.
‘Oust INL from LDF’
Mr. Surendran said INL leader Muhammad Sulaiman was a top office-bearer of the foundation. He alleged that the trust was a front for the PFI to collect funds for terrorist activities under the guise of charity work. He demanded that the Left Democratic Front (LDF) oust the INL from the ruling coalition for associating itself with a proscribed terrorist outfit.
Mr. Vijayan owed the public an explanation. Mr. Surendran attempted to link the CPI(M)‘s “stance against the PFI ban” to INL “appeasement” and vote bank politics. He said the ruling front and Congress-led Opposition toed a soft line on extremist organisations for political expediency.
BJP activists took out a march to Mr. Devarkovil’s office in Kozhikode demanding his resignation. The march that started from the Kozhikode Corporation office premises was stopped by the police in front of the Minister’s camp office.
Mr. Devarkovil scoffed at Mr. Surendran’s statement on his FB page. He termed it non-lethal blank ammunition fire. He defended the INL’s secular credentials and strong stance against minority and majority extremism. Mr. Devarkovil said he saw no substance or merit in Mr. Surendran’s accusations. They were all smoke and no fire. He noted that the INL and LDF governments were united in their stance against fundamentalism and right-wing revanchism.
INL State general secretary Kassim Irikkur termed Mr. Surendran’s allegations ‘poisonous and irrelevant.’ No one in the INL was associated with the NGO, he said. “If Mr. Surendran has evidence, he should make it public. Otherwise, he should tender an apology for misleading the people,” Mr. Irikkur said.
State president of the dissident faction of the party A.P. Abdul Wahab alleged that the split in the party could be attributed to the INL leadership’s links with the Rehab India Foundation.
(With inputs from Kozhikode bureau)