Exclusive interview with Prof Mohiyuddin Nedukkandiyil Karassery, popularly known as MN Karassery
Islamic State is at our doorsteps. Experts believe Popular Front of India and its political wing SDPI have links with IS. What is your opinion?
I do not have any solid evidence or proof in this regard. But, no doubt, their ideological similarities are undisputed. Definitely these ideologies do pose threat to our country.
Can you please elaborate on this?
All these organisations stand for the establishment of a theocratic state. I am totally against this concept, whether it is Islamic theocratic state or Hindu theocratic state. I stand for democratic state and system. We all live in 21st century. The political system should not be based on the Quran or Manusmriti. The ideology of “theocratic state” was originated by Syed Abul A’la Maududi Chishti (1903 – 1979), founder of Jamaat-e-Islami. He hailed from Aurangabad and went to Pakistan in 1947. There he worked for the establishment of Pakistan as an Islamic state. He stood for Islamic theocratic state — the Rule of God meaning Rule of Allah. He coined the term Hukumat-e-Ilahi for it. In another words, it is the restoration of Khilafat.
He stood for the revival of the 7th century society. This is what we see in Iran. There, they do have an elected parliament. But a priestly body enjoy the power to veto the proceedings of the parliament.
It is a fact that non-Muslims are not entitled to enjoy civil rights in Islamic countries like Pakistan.
Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) was formed in 1977 as the students wing of Jamaat-e-Islami. After it was banned by the government in 2001, it merged with National Democratic Front (NDF) which became part of Popular Front of India (PFI) in 2006. SDPI is the political front of PFI. These groups cultivate fear complex in minorities. They keep on telling them that Sangh parivar and CPM are dangerous: “You are oppressed and suppressed. What we are doing is defence; defence is not attack or aggression”. I believe that Hindu fundamentalism is to be fought with democracy. Non-violence is the right weapon. Chopping the heads is not the right method; counting the heads is the right democratic method.
In short, these organizations’ existence and operations of SDPI and PFI are not justifiable.
The Popular Front, according to some intellectuals, is a harmless group working for the interests of the minorities, Dalits and the downtrodden. What do you have to say about that?
There are three points to note: Thomas P. Joseph Commission which enquired into the Marad riots in 2002 and 2003 had found the role of these bodies in them. Their activists have been convicted in the courts for their involvement in the case pertaining to the chopping of Prof. TJ Joseph’s hand in July, 2010. And, the convicts of that case were smiling, laughing and rejoicing in a celebratory mood after hearing the judgment and while they were being taken to the jail from the court. This is the characteristic of a terrorist. The killers of Anvar Sadath of Egypt were playing with noose made of their blankets provided in the jail; they were rejoicing the very idea of capital punishment! Men of terrorist mindset alone can enjoy these sorts of terrifying games.
These sorts of thoughts pave the way for extreme steps. That is why SIMI waved black flag to Yasser Arafat when he came to India, because, he had participated in the Camp David Summit. Terrorists of all schools are alike. Yigal Amir, an Israeli ultranationalist, shot Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin dead in 1995. The assassination was in protest against his peace initiative and signing the Oslo Accord.
People believe that they pose a threat to the secular fabric of India, security of India.
They pose a threat not only to secularism and the country but also to Muslims. Their activities put the entire Muslim community under suspicion. Muslims are forced to be on defensive. Because, these organisations do not believe in democracy.
There are reports that they are involved in the recent migration of our countrymen, especially Keralites, to Syria and Afghanistan for joining IS? What do you think?
I do not have any reliable information or evidence in this respect.
There are reports that they get patronage from the mainstream political parties in India, especially in Kerala.
Both Congress-led UDF and CPI(M)-led LDF make some electoral adjustments with PFI and SDPI. Both fronts do not like to provoke the vote bank. When Prof. Jospeh’s hand was chopped both fronts did not give him any effective support to the victim.
Do they play a “sun and moon game”, that is, members of the mainstream parties during day time and cadres of SDPI and PFI after sun set? If it is true, any reason for it?
I do not have any substantial evidence in this regard.
There is a suspicion that they have infiltrated into police force.
I do not have any evidence in this regard. But, if you say that Justice Thomas P. Joseph Commission’s report on Marad Carnage had made reference to it, I do not see any reason to disbelieve a judicial commission.
There are reports that SFI leader Abhimanyu was murdered by professional killers. If it is true, then it is something to be seriously worried.
Abhimayu murder was a professional job. I have heard that their cadres get training in killing. Again, I do not have any evidence.
There are reports that those organizations were behind the WhatsApp Hartal of April 16, 2018.
I really don’t know. But, their workers have been framed in the cases in connection with the violent incidents of that day. They had supported it initially. Later on they said, it was a popular hartal and no idea who organized it.
What do you say about their challenge against the pillars of our establishment like judiciary and executive? For example, their massive protest march to Kerala High Court against the court ruling with respect to Akhila/Hadiya case and march in Thiruvananthapuram defying the police order.
Challenging the judiciary and law & order system is undemocratic.
Former Vice-President of India Dr. Hamid Ansari participated in a PFI programme in Kozhikode last year.
It is quite unfair. His participation gave them undeserving legitimacy. A man of such a past should not have done it.
Do both LDF and UDF develop cold feet when they come across a situation where they have to take action against SDPI and PFI?
That is what we see.