IUML is not a communal organisation: KPA Majeed

IUML is not a communal organisation: KPA Majeed

IUML Kerala general secretary K P A Majeed. (Image: Facebook)

The green flag of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), an alliance partner in Kerala's Congress-led United Democratic Front shot into the limelight recently after Congress president Rahul Gandhi conducted a roadshow in Wayanad before filing his nomination papers. As an active political party, the IUML has had members in the Constituent Assembly and in all parliaments till date.

In an interview with DH, K P A Majeed, the party's Kerala state general secretary, talks about IUML's history and present.

Why was the IUML established?

Indian Union Muslim League was established to protect the constitutional rights of minorities, backward classes and other oppressed communities. IUML abides by the Indian constitution. 

Why did you retain erstwhile Muslim League's name in IUML?

Parties for the welfare and protection of minorities exist in various countries. It is the need of the hour. The All India Muslim League was disbanded after 1947 and independent units were formed in India and Pakistan as IUML and Muslim League respectively.

Even though it is named the Muslim League, there are workers from all communities. You have to look into the activities of the party, not the name. In the seventy-plus years of its existence, nobody can find any link to terrorism, communalism or any anti-national activities with IUML.
Does IUML have any connection with Pakistan's Muslim League or Bangladesh's Awami League?

 In a post-partition meeting of All India Muslim League workers, Qaid-e-Millat Muhammad Ismail Sahib, the founder of the IUML, had categorically stated that since there were two countries the League had to protect the rights of minorities in their respective countries.

He also requested the members not to interfere in the matters of minorities in India. He politely declined a proposal to divide the party fund between Pakistan Muslim League and IUML claiming that the party did not need money or other support, saying that IUML would function in India following the Constitution of the country.

We are still following this policy and have no connection with either the Muslim League or Awami League.

 IUML claims it is a secular party. How many non-Muslim members are part of the party's leadership and cadre?

Currently, IUML has 7000-8000 non-Muslim members in Kerala. We have a body called Dalit League for the upliftment of the Scheduled Caste community. Our trade union movements formed in various sectors have people from all communities. There are several non-muslim members in the state committee. Unnikrishnan, the current Malappuram district panchayat president, is a League member - this is the only Muslim majority district in Kerala.

What has been IUML's contribution to the country?
During the first India-Pak battle, our founder Ismail Sahib, who was a member of parliament, wrote to Jawaharlal Nehru stating that he would contribute his entire salary to support the war effort. He also wrote that he was willing to send his son Miyan Khan to join the Army. In Kerala, the party has built more than 7000 houses for the needy without considering their religion. We are running CH Centre near medical colleges to provide patients with free food, accommodation and medicine. We have dialysis centres at 35 locations in Kerala.
The allegations of BJP towards the Muslim League in North India are baseless. No party in Kerala including BJP has ever raised any allegations against IUML, because they know our secular identity and our contribution to the development of the state and nation. IUML leader CH Muhammad Koya was Kerala chief minister. Members of the party have held almost all ministries and the party has been part of all the legislative Houses in the state and Centre since Independence. IUML leader E Ahmed was a minister in the Manmohan Singh led UPA government.
The biggest contribution of the party is spreading a feeling of security among the Muslim community. Unlike North Indian Muslims, the community in Kerala never got communalised and took up terrorism because of the presence of IUML. Had the IUML been present in North India, then no Muslims would have become the victim of communalism or terrorism.

Muslims in Kerala are educationally and economically advanced. They are involved in all the sectors. No terrorists have emerged from the community. If any anti-national parties pop up, all sections come together to corner them. Everyone knows that, if IUML declines, the community will fall into the hands of terrorists. You can evaluate us over this angle only.

Why is the IUML present only in Kerala and Tamil Nadu? Why have you not forged an alliance with Congress in other parts of the country?
North Indian Muslims are poor and backward. IUML cannot afford to provide them with the cover of protection if they join us. In TN and Kerala, IUML has forged strong alliances that help us secure more seats. In other states, IUML is not as powerful, so we could not forge any alliances there.
IUML's support for the Congress and Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad has allowed the BJP to make the party's green flag a poll issue...
We are a partner in the UDF led by Congress in Kerala. When Congress decided to field Rahul as their candidate from Wayanad, we welcomed the decision and will work to ensure his victory. IUML has considerable strength in Wayanad constituency.

BJP has inherent animosity towards Muslims and their symbols. As an alliance partner in the UDF, we use our flag like all others. It is not a big issue at all. IUML and Congress have had a strong relationship for years in Kerala and outside. The latest row is part of BJP's natural attempt to polarise communities to gain votes in North India.
There are various parties from the Muslim community like AIMIM, AIUDF, INL, SDPI, Welfare Party etc. What is your relationship with them?
IUML completely differs with the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI). They propagate a policy of using force to counter anti-minority atrocities. SDPI accuses the IUML of not being aggressive enough in this matter. Our policy is to resolve matters in a democratic manner and not by using excessive force.

 INL is a party of defected IUML members. They are playing like a B-team for CPI(M) and are a part of the LDF. So we don't have any connection with them.

 MIM's language and their activities are entirely different from us and we cannot imbibe those. They follow an aggressive style of working. And when we look at MIM's electoral battles, they divide the secular vote bank which indirectly helps the BJP.

 Our objective is to stand for the interest of minorities without dividing the secular vote bank. Therefore, we support Congress, which has a strong base across the country.
Why does a member of Panakkadu Thangal family always become the state president? Is it to woo Muslim sentiments?
The party state president post is not dedicated to any particular family. Before Pookkoya Thangal, the post was held by Abdur Rahman Bafaqi Thangal, who was not from the Panakkad family. By this, we are keeping alive our tradition of pure politics. No member of the Panakkad family has political ambitions. We elect our party president in a democratic way.
What are IUML's prospects in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls?
We are contesting from three seats this time. Two from Kerala (Malappuram and Ponnani) and one from Tamil Nadu (Ramanathapuram) and we will win all three. In Ramanathapuram, we are contesting directly against BJP as part of the DMK-Congress alliance. We are the incumbent's in Malappuram and Ponnani and we will surely win both the seats with a good majority.
What will be the party's position in upcoming parliament and/or govt if a non-BJP ally comes to power?

 We have always supported a united secular force against BJP's fascist and communal agenda. We are ready to join in any such movements with any party including CPI(M) or others. If UPA comes to power we will naturally be part of the government.

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