'Internal matter, party decision final': MK Muneer defends IUML move to disband Haritha

MLA MK Muneer

Malappuram: A day after the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) decided to disband Haritha, the girls' wing of Muslim Student's Federation (MSF), the party legislator MK Muneer clarified that the decision was taken collectively by the party members and that there was no objection.

"The public may interpret the decision any which way. It is a party matter and party decision is final," Muneer said.

He also rejected the criticism that the leaders of the Haritha were not properly heard.

The issue of alleged verbal harassment, raised by the members of the outfit against some of the male leaders, was discussed in all forums of the party and the final decision was taken after the IUML high power committee heard both versions, he said. 

"There was no objection [to the decision]. The only thing remaining is to get clearance from the executive committee which will meet soon," Muneer added.

He also dismissed charges of gender discrimination in the party as baseless.

Muneer's statement came amid reports that the Haritha leaders are sticking to their earlier stand and have decided to go ahead with their complaint against the male leaders.

The IUML on Wednesday dissolved the state committee of Haritha after it rejected the party leadership's demand to withdraw the complaint a group of its members filed with the Kerala Women's Commission seeking action against some of the male leaders of MSF, who allegedly used derogatory remarks against them.

Announcing the party decision to disband Haritha, IUML state general secretary PMA Salam said that the term of the current committee had run out in 2018.

"Now, a new state committee of Haritha will be appointed by the state leadership of the party," Salam said.

He also said that the party had found 'gross indiscipline on the part of the Haritha leaders. "This is what has led to the decision," he argued.

The leaders of Haritha have threatened to move court against the IUML for disbanding its state committee for going public with a sexual harassment complaint.

While the law stipulates the need for having internal units to address complaints of aggression against women, taking action upon the complainant is illegal and the issue will be raised before a court, the Haritha leaders pointed out.

They claimed that the party did not seek clarification before taking the drastic measure.

"We will not withdraw the complaint filed before the women's commission," said the leaders of Haritha, adding that they were prepared to go to any extent to get justice.

Last month, the party had suspended the state committee of Haritha, again citing indiscipline after 10 of its leaders, including General Secretary Najma Thabsheera, refused to withdraw complaints of sexual harassment filed against MSF leaders with the Women's Commission.

MSF state president PK Navas, who is facing charges of using derogatory remarks against women members, had expressed regret over the incident, but stuck to his claim that he did not use any word with malicious intent. It was after this that the League had directed the Haritha to withdraw its complaint filed with the Women's Commission.

Besides PK Navas, the federation's district president of Malappuram, Kabeer Muthuparambu, and district secretary VA Wahad, too were charged in the case.

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