K.T. Jaleel arrives to heightened criticism in Kerala

Former Minister and Left Democratic Front (LDF) Independent legislator K.T. Jaleel. File

Former Minister and Left Democratic Front (LDF) Independent legislator K.T. Jaleel. File | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

Former Minister and Left Democratic Front (LDF) Independent legislator K. T. Jaleel arrived in Kerala early Sunday from New Delhi to face mounting criticism about his now withdrawn but politically turbulent Facebook post on Kashmir.

Mr. Jaleel's mention of "Indian-occupied Kashmir" and "Azadi Kashmir" in an article on his recent Kashmir tour as part of an Assembly delegation had set off a strong ripple of disapproval that showed scarce signs of abating.

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan appeared to join the ranks of Mr. Jaleel's critics. He said he could condone the legislator's remarks. Mr. Khan wondered whether the observations were "intentional or born out of ignorance". He said it was not the time to discuss such "disgraceful opinions."

"India is celebrating national sovereignty and territorial integrity on the 75th anniversary of the country's independence. Such comments do not augur well at such a moment of national pride," he said.

Mr. Jaleel faced aggressive political and legal measures from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). ABVP activists filed a complaint with the Kerala police, accusing Mr. Jaleel of treason. Earlier, the Tilak Marg police in New Delhi had received a similar complaint from a pro-BJP lawyer. A BJP office-bearer said "nationalists" would file complaints against Mr. Jaleel's "seditious remarks" in police stations across the country.

Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan said Mr. Jaleel's comment was anti-national. On Saturday, Leader of the Opposition V. D. Satheesan said Mr. Jaleel's statement on Kashmir was against national interest and echoed Pakistan's declared position.

Mr. Jaleel refused to comment. Former Minister A.C. Moideen, who led the delegation, said the Communist Party of India (Marxist)'s [CPI(M)] stance on Kashmir was consistent.

(The CPI(M) has maintained that Jammu and Kashmir was a part of India ever since the accession of the State to the Indian Union. However, it had protested the abrogation of Article 370 that granted special status to Kashmir. It had also campaigned against the Modi government's "denial of constitutional and democratic rights to the State's people".)

Earlier, Mr. Jaleel had clarified that he had used politically touchy phrases within quotes. He had meant to state that Pakistan had scarce influence over the people of Kashmir.

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Printable version | Aug 25, 2022 7:05:56 pm |