Alappuzha: Jamaath Council state president A Pookunju passed away in Alappuzha. He was 74.
Pookunju who was under treatment for liver and kidney related ailments died at a private hospital here at 3am. Son of the late Hassanar Kunju and Zainaba Umma of Chengalath, Kayamkulam, he passed his BA LLB from Government Law College, Thiruvananthapuram and LLM from Government Law College Kozhikode.
He entered the political arena through Congress student front KSU and subsequently he practised at Mavelikkara and Alappuzha district courts. Pookunju became active in community affairs as district president of Jamaath Council and remained the state secretary of the council for a long period.
He functioned as the state committee member of the Muslim League besides holding important positions like member State Wakf Board and Alappuzha District Pleader.
Pookunju leaves behind wife Mehrunissa, a former manager of UCO bank and sons advocate V P Unais (Alappuzha district court) and advocate V P Owais (Bahrain), daughters in law Dr Nisa Unnais and Wahida Owais (Bahrain).
His was a life completely dedicated to the welfare of the community. Though he started off his career in politics, he never waited to reap the fruits from that field. A person with an open mind, he always concentrated on the issues related to community. His life and thinking were like an open book and his candid personality was the reason why people respected him and remembered him so fondly.
His life was totally set aside for the Jamaath Council activities and he worked with that objective till his last breath. Pookunju’s main goal was the unification of Mahal committees and he used his legal expertise to frame bylaws and rules for streamlining their functioning. The only political post he accepted was that of State Wakf Board Member. Though he learned to take the baby steps in politics as member of Congress student wing KSU, later Muslim League became his political platform where he rose to the position of state committee member. During student days Janata Dal (S) leader A Neelalohithadasan Nadar was his close friend.
Pookunju made the foray into community issues as part of the community organization led by S M Noohu. His contribution in making rules and bylaws of Alappuzha East Jamaath (Mastan Mosque) and construction of a building after availing a loan from Central Wakf Board, is fondly remembered by people in Alappuzha district.
Pookunju was a staunch believer and had immense belief in secular ideals. For him community was not something related to his own religion but in broader sense it was for the entire society.
He was in the forefront for demanding the rights of backward communities in the state. Along with Vellapally Natesan, V Dinakaran he was at the helm of Backward Communities Protection Council. The three were known as the “Alappuzha Team” during those days. He had also practised in Kozhikode and Mavelikkara earlier.
While taking part in an agitation, he was made an accused by the police in the beginning of the eighties. He organized mass gatherings at important junctions known as Moulid recitation gatherings. There was a strong agitation against the cops who questioned the event. This led to a major showdown between the agitators and cop. The police resorted to firing against the agitators leading to the death of two protestors.
The massive march led by him to the then home minister Vayalar Ravi’s residence is still remembered by the old timers with respect.
The jaundice developed by Pookunju during childhood had resulted in various liver complications later. Recently he developed kidney related problems which aggravated his health condition.