Jaleel withdraws Kashmir FB post

K.T. Jaleel

K.T. Jaleel

Former Minister K. T. Jaleel, MLA, on Saturday withdrew his controversial Facebook post on Jammu and Kashmir. Almost simultaneously, news broke from New Delhi that the Tilak Marg police booked him on suspected treason charges.

Dr. Jaleel, a Left Democratic Front (LDF) Independent legislator, courted a controversy on Friday by posting a long-winded article on his recent Kashmir tour. In the write-up, Dr. Jaleel mentioned “Indian-occupied Kashmir” and “Azadi Kashmir.” His foray into the touchy topic ignited a fiery political controversy. Dr. Jaleel removed the post stating that he meant no hurt and some quarters had misinterpreted the composition.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) State president K. Surendran said Dr. Jaleel’s remark was detrimental to nationalism. Dr. Jaleel’s post advantaged Pakistan, which orchestrated insurgency and terrorism in Kashmir. Kashmir was central to India’s national identity.

Mr. Surendran alleged that Dr. Jaleel had echoed the sentiments of the banned extremist outfit Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). Dr. Jaleel had not lost his affinity for Islamism though the MLA had technically severed ties with the proscribed organisation in the 1980s. Dr. Jaleel had broken his oath of allegiance to the Constitution and, consequently, lost his right to continue as an MLA.

Meanwhile, Dr. Jaleel appeared to find himself increasingly isolated politically, despite clarifying that he had used the phrases within quotes.

Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan said Dr. Jaleel’s remark ran counter to India’s stated position on Kashmir. He had echoed Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir.

“Dr. Jaleel’s statement on Kashmir was against national interest. It had disadvantaged India diplomatically. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] should state whether they concurred with his view,” he said.

Mr. Satheesan said he was puzzled by the CPI(M)’s reluctance to rein in Dr. Jaleel. He wondered whether his gaffe was part of a larger CPI(M) conspiracy to divert public attention from the scandals dogging the government.

Dr. Jaleel’s comment had come at an arguably inopportune time for the CPI(M). The controversy had assumed stormy dimensions on the eve of the 75th Independence Day celebrations and at a moment when the BJP had attacked the CPI(M) for allegedly attempting to eclipse the national event. So far, no CPI(M) leader had shielded Dr. Jaleel from the Opposition’s onslaught.

Former Minister Saji Cherian’s exit from the Ministry had, as it appeared, convinced the CPI(M) to exercise extreme caution during such national attention-grabbing and potentially damaging controversies.

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Printable version | Aug 14, 2022 11:52:13 am |