Waqf Board appointments to PSC: CPM warns League against using mosque pulpits for anti-govt polemic

Kerala PSC headquarters in Thiruvananthapuram.

The CPM has come out strongly against the decision of a collective of Muslim organisations led by Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) to hold awareness discourses in mosques against the LDF decision to hand over Waqf Board appointments to the Kerala State Public Service Commission. "This call to whip up anti-government feelings through mosques will have far reaching consequences," the CPM State Secretariat said in a statement here on Wednesday.

"This is a highly dangerous move as it would create deep communal divisions and trigger religious polarisation," the statement said. "It will also give further impetus to the Sangh Parivar to use temples to further their political agenda," it said.

The decision to sensitise the Muslim community about what is perceived as the LDF government's anti-Muslim policies during Friday prayers was taken at a core committee of Muslim organisations in Kozhikode on November 30. The Core Committee had also decided to legally challenge the decision to hand over Waqf Board appointments to the PSC. It was also decided to hold mass rallies against the government decision at panchayat centres on December 7.

The Core Committee also concluded the LDF government was introducing far worse anti-Muslim policies than the BJP government at the centre.

The CPM State Secretariat said the decision to convert mosques into venues of political protest was like playing with fire. "The faithful will never endorse this attempt to use places of worship for political gains. Among the faithful who visit mosques for prayers are followers of all political parties. So the faithful themselves will be the first to question if the pulpit is used to criticise the government," the CPM statement said. It said that the League had attempted to use mosques as political platforms earlier, too. "In all these instances, the faithful had led the resistance," the statement said.

The League is a political party and not a religious organisation, the CPM statement said. "If the Sangh Parivar does the same with temples, how can the League and other Muslim bodies question their motives," the CPM asked.

The statement also struck a conciliatory note. It said that the government had already assured Muslim leaders that the decision to hand over Waqf Board appointments to the PSC would be implemented only after addressing all the major concerns raised by them.

On November 22, addressing reporters, IUML leader and the core committee chairman Panakkad Sadikhali Shihab Thangal said that the controversial decision was against the Waqf Act of the Central Government. He said the Waqf Board, constituted for the protection of Waqf properties, had the sole authority to make recruitments. He said the State Act - The Kerala PSC (Additional Functions As Respects the Services Under the Waqf Board) Act, 2021 - was against the Central Waqf Act.

Under the Act, passed in the last session of the Assembly, the PSC was granted the authority to recruit candidates belonging to the Muslim religion to the administrative services of the Waqf Board.

Thangal also said that officials appointed to handle Waqf properties endowed in the name of God should be religious believers.

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