There are no Hindus or Christians in IUML: BJP’s Alphons Kannanthanam

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Alphons Kannanthanam | Photo: Mathrubhumi

Kochi: BJP leader and former union minister Alphons Kannanthanam on Friday said Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) is a party only for Muslims and “there are no Hindus or Christians”.

Kannanthanam’s remarks came in the wake of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s assertion in the US that IUML is a "completely secular" party.

According to Kannanthanam, IUML has been silent on extremism and fundamentalism. He even alleged that “Kerala has become the laboratory for ISIS & these people don't say a word”.

He further mocked Rahul Gandhi and said the latter does not have the intellectual capacity to understand things.

Meanwhile, BJP is of the opinion that IUML is guided by the same mindset which was behind Mohammad Ali Jinnah's All India Muslim League.

"These are the same people who had stayed back after partition. They formed the Muslim League here after partition and became MPs. They advocated for Sharia law, wanted separate seats reserved for Muslims. They are the same people who are part of the same Muslim League. It is Rahul Gandhi and the Congress that sees Hindu terrorism but feels Muslim League is secular," Union minister Anurag Thakur said.

BJP national spokesperson and MP Sudhanshu Trivedi claimed a link between the regional party and Jinnah's outfit, which spearheaded the partition stir among Muslims. He noted that Jinnah's party had swept the pre-Independence provincial polls in Madras presidency, of which today's Kerala was then a part.

For the Congress, parties like AIMIM, Muslim League and Indian Secular Front, a West Bengal party formed by a Muslim cleric, are secular and the PFI, a banned radical Islamic organisation, is a "cultural" body, he said.

The Congress has allied with the AIMIM and the Indian Secular Front in the past.

Congress leaders see "misguided" people in terrorists, call Osama bin Laden "Osama ji", and sympathise with Ishrat Jahan, a suspected LeT operative killed in an encounter in Gujarat, he said.

Thakur said it is imperative that the former Congress president speaks favourably of organisations like the Muslim Brotherhood, an extremist organisation banned in several countries, and the Muslim League as he has to contest again from Wayanad, a Muslim-majority seat, after losing from Amethi.

On a tour to the US, Gandhi told reporters in Washington that the Muslim League is a "completely secular" party and there is nothing non-secular about it. He was answering a question about his party' alliance with the regional party.

Trivedi told reporters that Malappuram district body had passed a proposal in 2013 to lower the marriage age bar for girls to 16 years from 18, as Muslims were in a majority in the area. The then Congress government, which included the Muslim League, in the state backtracked only after fierce protest from the opposition.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said in 2021 that the Muslim League is becoming "increasingly communal" and is adopting slogans and views of extremists, he said.

Mocking Gandhi, the BJP leader said his claim raises a question mark on his wisdom.

Union minister Kiren Rijiju said, "Jinnah's Muslim League is a secular party? The party responsible for India's partition on religious lines is a secular party? Extremely unfortunate that some people in India still consider the person who supports the Muslim League as Secular!"

BJP I-T department head Amit Malviya said, "Jinnah's Muslim League, the party responsible for India's Partition, on religious lines, according to Rahul Gandhi is a ‘secular' party. Rahul Gandhi, though poorly read, is simply being disingenuous and sinister here. It is also his compulsion to remain acceptable in Wayanad."

The Congress hit back at the BJP, saying the party Gandhi referred to was different from Jinnah's Muslim League, for which the BJP has "more love" and whose leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah was hailed by L K Advani.

The opposition party also said that it would like to remind the BJP that Hindu Mahasabha president Shyama Prasad Mookerjee aligned with Jinnah's Muslim League to form the government in Bengal during the British rule.

With PTI, ANI inputs

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