CPM asks Muslim outfits to call off Dec 17 hartal, says it will hurt national unity

CPM asks Muslim outfits to call off Dec 17 hartal, says it will hurt national unity

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has expressed its disappointment at the hartal call given by a group of organisations, including right-leaning Muslim outfits, on December 17 against the Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens. The Left parties had called for a national hartal on the very issue on December 19.

"At a time when a broad pan-India coalition was being formed, certain organisations calling for a separate hartal will not help the growing national unity against the BJP's moves," an official CPM statement released on Sunday said.

The call for hartal on December 17 was given by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) formed by a motley group of extreme right Muslim outfits in Kerala, national parties and other social organisations. The JAC members include Welfare Party of India, Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), Solidarity Youth Movement, Kerala Muslim Jama-ath Council, Cheramar-Sambavar Development Society (CSDS), Dalit Human Rights Movement (DHRM), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), National Fish Workers' Forum, and Porattam.

The JAC, while calling for the hartal, said it was let down by the political leadership in the State. "There were not enough protests in Kerala though people had strong objections to the CAA. This is why we called for a hartal on December 17," a press statement said.

The JAC also said the hartal would be conducted in the most peaceful and democratic manner. It also said the hartal would not put Sabarimala pilgrims through any difficulty.

The CPM, however, said this was akin to falling in the trap set by the BJP that wants people divided in the name of religion. "Those interested in building up a people's resistance against the BJP's nefarious designs should desist from going ahead with such breakaway moves," the CPM statement said.

It said the Left parties had already called for a hartal on December 19. "Further, the joint protest to be staged in Kerala on December 16 by parties cutting across political lines will be a model for the entire country," the statement said.

However, the JAC leaders said that the joint protest and even the hartal call of the Left were even thought of only after it made its December 17 hartal call.

People's Democrtic Party (PDP) said it would not participate in the December 17 hartal. "We will not be part of the organisation or propagation of the December 17 hartal. Yet, our members will shut down their shops and will not take out their vehicles on the day," the PDP State Secretariat said in a statement on Sunday.

Another prominent Muslim party, Indian National League (INL), but has called upon the JAC to drop their December 17 hartal. The INL state president A P Abdul Wahab told his cadres not to cooperate with the JAC hartal.