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CPM demotes Muslim MP for Umrah

CPM demotes Muslim MP for Umrah

Author: J. Gopikrishnan
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: July 4, 2008

As per the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) brand of 'secularism', backing Muslims on the Amarnath shrine land transfer issue is the order of things. But when it comes to allowing a party MP from the same community to practice his religious beliefs, the knives are brought out against him.

The CPM has censured and demoted its Kerala MP Abdullah Kutty for travelling to Mecca for performing Umrah two weeks ago. The young MP from Kannur, who went to Mecca in the first week of June, invited the wrath of the party's State unit for "defying" the party's ideology.

The district committee took disciplinary against him on June 19 and demoted him to a simple member in the local committee. Prior to the action against him, Kutty was an area committee member.

Incidentally, the party first "charge-sheeted" him for having performed the religious ceremony in Mecca. Later, conscious of the fact that the decision could invite backlash from the Muslim community, the party claimed Kutty was punished for delivering a speech against bandhs and hartals.

But talking to The Pioneer over phone, Kutty said: "Disciplinary action was initiated against me after I returned from Mecca. The so-called controversial speech is an old issue anyway. A number of leaders had aired the same view on bandhs and hartals."

He added, "The timing of the party's disciplinary action against me has made people believe that I have been convicted for performing Umrah. But the party denies that the action was caused by my having undertaken the religious trip."

Kutty refused to comment further, saying, "I am a dedicated party member and can't clarify all your queries since I have been censured."

Party insiders feel that Kutty has been penalised by CPI(M)'s State secretary and Politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan for his allegiance to the rival faction, led by Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan.

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