SDPI fails to garner support for hartal

CPI(M) terms move schismatic, helpful to RSS

The Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) found itself increasingly isolated on Sunday after major Muslim social organisations and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) distanced themselves from a call by the party to observe a general strike on Tuesday in protest against the enactment of the recently legislated Citizen Amendment Act.

Kanthapuram A. P. Aboobacker Musliyar, general secretary of the All India Sunni Jamiyyathul Ulama, told journalists he would not associate with an organisation that exhibited an ‘extreme character.’

He said society as a whole had rallied against the Bill that discriminated against Muslim migrants and refugees seeking citizenship in India. The law ran against the grain of the Constitution, which promised equality under the law to all persons in its jurisdiction. Sectarian protests would only work to the advantage of those who seek to enforce the law.

Mr. Aboobacker said he would join Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala to demonstrate against the law at Martyr’s Column here on Monday.


The Jamaat-e-Islami and the Popular Front of India have backed the hartal call on December 17. However, the E.K. Sunni faction has not announced its support. The Indian Union Muslim League is reportedly against the SDPI hartal though it has made no public statement.

The State Secretariat of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has slammed the SDPI move. “The Act is an assault on the secular essence of the Constitution. Any protest against the law should unify rather than divide people,” a statement said. The CPI(M) said it could not back the general strike because a sectarian and schismatic protest would be akin to playing into the hands of the Bharathiya Janata Party-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh combine. The SDPI held torchlight marches in several districts on Sunday to drum up support against the law.

The Joint Action Council of organisations that have called the hartal said it had exempted Ranni from the general strike so as not to inconvenience pilgrims headed to Sabarimala.

It said hartal supporters would not target vehicles carrying pilgrims to the Ayyappa temple. However, the council urged people to cooperate with the ‘peaceful’ hartal by avoiding travel and work.

The police said they had stepped up security following the hartal call. They planned to issue a notice to the hartal promoters stating theirs was an illegal act and the law would hold the organisers responsible for any act of violence or damage to property.

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 10:23:00 AM |

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