By Md Ali, TwoCircles.net,
New Delhi: “There can never be any justification of what happened with TJ Joseph and we strongly condemn chopping off his hand by few miscreants,” said EM Abdul Rahiman, chairman, Popular Front of India (PFI) here yesterday. “It was quite shameful and it shouldn’t have happened in the first place,” he added.
Talking to the press at the Press Club of India, Mr. Rahiman accepted that people who chopped off Prof Joseph’s hand were PFI members.
“We do accept that the accused in this crime were associated with us and we are cooperating with the police in the investigation of this case. But I want to make it very clear, that we don’t follow violence. We are a completely non violent group which is focused on the socio-economic empowerment of marginalized groups,” said Mr. Rahiman.
He also accepted that “there are some members who are involved in the local acts of crime, and we are certainly going to examine what led to this? We are going to sure that our members don’t get involved in any violent activity.”
It is important to mention here that, on July 4, 2010, TJ Joseph was attacked by a group of people and they chopped off his right palm for his reportedly blasphemous act. A lecturer at Newman College in Thodupuzha in Idukki district, Mr. Joseph was out on bail after getting arrested for blasphemy in April last year.
The assailants in this heinous crime turned out to be members of PFI, which later on suspended them. After this incident there was widespread raid in the PFI offices across the state and several of its members were arrested by the police. According to the state police, certain weapons were found in a PFI office in Kannur.
However, there were also reports that the police themselves had planted the weapons and then took them out at the time of raid.
Police is continuing with raids and arrests of PFI activists. PFI has termed it as “harassment of its cadres and a well planned witch-hunting.”
Not a terror activity
Mr Rahiman also said that while these acts of crime should be condemned, these can’t be equated with terrorist activities. He wants to challenge “the assumptions created by the current political dispensation and a part of media that this was a terror activity, and PFI is involved in acts of terror.”
Why different yardsticks for different groups?
He accused the Chief Minister of Kerala of having double standards and different yardsticks for different organizations.
He pointed out that “what we are saying is that ok, this was a crime but what about several cases where CPM, RSS and BJP workers have been found to be involved in acts of terror, bombings, murder and different other kinds of heinous crimes? This is not an accusation but has been proved by the Crime Record Bureau and several verdicts by different courts of the state.”
Mr. Rahiman asked, “Why those organizations are being shielded and why PFI is being hunted down as if it is involved in a big act of terror? Does the state government follow different standards for different organizations?”
PFI has also slammed the CM of state, VS Achuthanandan, for his ‘anti-Muslim’ and ‘anti-Islam’ statements, and has demanded apology from him.
What is all the more disturbing is that now the state administration has reportedly been targeting Muslim groups. This can potentially create communal hostility and thereby disturb the communal harmony in the state.
PFI is an organization which has been working in Kerala as social organization since 1993 with the name of National Development Front. In 2006 it merged with other social organizations from Tamilnadu and Karnataka and formed Popular Front of India. PFI has around 50 thousand cadres across India.