UDF walkout over attack on IUML activists

Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) members walked out of the Assembly during zero hour on Monday alleging police inaction in the face of violent attacks on Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) workers and a mosque at Unniyal in the Tanur Assembly constituency in Malappuram district.

The Opposition, which sought adjournment of the proceedings of the House to discuss the issue, accused the government of having responded very casually to the attacks in which around half-a-dozen IUML workers were injured and a mosque suffered damage. Although the attacks took place in the presence of police personnel, there was no move to arrest the guilty. The attacks were a sequel to earlier skirmishes involving CPI(M) and IUML workers in the area, but the police and the government were trying to make it out to be a clash between the Sunni factions led by A.P. Abubaker Musaliar and E.K. Abubaker Musaliar, the Opposition said.

Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the police were investigating the case and the situation was under control in the area. The persons who had sustained injuries in the attack had been admitted to hospital. According to information available with the government, the attack was part of intermittent skirmishes between the EK and AP Sunni factions over a mosque. The government was committed to providing full protection to places of worship. Action would be taken against those responsible for the attacks. The Northern Range IG of Police Mohammed Yasin would be asked to visit the violence-hit area and explore ways to restore normality, Mr. Balakrishnan said.

Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy said it was regrettable that the Home Minister had taken the issue quite lightly and did not mention crucial facts such as intimidation of persons who were witnesses in a case relating to the murder of an IUML worker by CPI(M) activists in the locality. “You are allowing your cadres to take the law into their hands and giving them police protection,” Mr. Chandy said before leading the Opposition members out of the House.