Sangh Parivar will not succeed in Ramanathapuram
By M H Jawahirullah
It seems the Sangh Parivar can stoop to any level to create disaffection and disharmony in society.
A recent article published in the pro-Sangh Parivar daily, The Pioneer, has alleged that fatwas (Muslim religious edicts) have been issued to ban the entry of ‘outsiders’ into Rameswaram villages.
However, no such fatwa has been issued in any village in Ramanathapuram Distirct to my knowledge.
Hindus, Muslims, and Christians have lived peacefully in Ramanathapuram district (Photo: Indian Photo Agency - pic for representation purpose only)
The article is full of falsehood, mischievous misrepresentations, and blatant errors.
The article states that “Local Jamaath Councils have issued ‘fatwas’ declaring Muslim-majority villages out of bounds for people even from the district itself. At the entry points to Athiyuthu, Puthuvalassai, Panaikulam, Azhagankulam and Sitharkottai are found such boards, all put up by the local Jamaath Councils.”
One Arumugam is quoted as saying, “There are boards deep inside these villages which declare outsiders are not allowed.”
These allegations are totally wrong and utterly false. The truth is no such board declaring that these villages are out of bounds for non- Muslims was ever put up in these villages.
There were notice boards but they carried no fatwa. They merely displayed innocuous restrictions against indiscriminate pasting of bills, noisy announcements from loudspeakers mounted on vehicles and parking of vehicles obstructing smooth flow of traffic.
Pioneer has not published images (shown here) of the alleged offensive boards.
The message on the notice board (see photo) translated into English reads as follows: “Warning: Advertising and pasting bills without permission and using loudspeakers mounted on motor vehicles inside the village is disallowed. Those who violate this will be lawfully proceeded against. Do not park vehicles disturbing flow of traffic - Muslim Jamath Thajul Islam Sangam, Pottakavayal.”
There is not a single word in this notice which states that the village is out of bounds for outsiders.
Further, these notice boards only reiterate the existing restrictions relating to billboards, pasting of bills, use of loudspeakers on vehicles, and are well within the ambit of Tamil Nadu Open Places (prevention of disfigurement) Act 1959, and The Motor Vehicles Act.
These restrictions apply to all parties and organizations irrespective of their religious or caste affiliations.
In Alagankulam both Muslim and Hindu community leaders had come to an agreement several years back and had put up announcement boards of which one is given here. (Pioneer had not published this picture.)
Translated into English, the message posted by ‘Hindu Muslim United Sabah’ (see photo) reads: "Warning: Propagation through loud speakers, pasting bills and writing advertisements on walls are disallowed inside the village. Severe action will be taken against those who violate this.”
Quoting Senthilvel, an office bearer of BJP in Alagankulam, mentioned in the article as a foreign exchange dealer, it is reported that “the villagers are still in a state of shock as some Muslim youth slaughtered a cow in front of the Muneeswarankoil Temple. ‘The Jamaath Council president and secretary told us that they were helpless as the youth would not listen to them.”
This is an unadulterated lie. No slaughter of any cow took place in the village in front of the temple. As was their practice in previous years during the Bakrid festival, bulls were slaughtered in a private property of a Jamaat office bearer, some 100 feet away from the temple.
In Alagankulam Muslims and Hindus live in harmony. Both communities have such cordial understanding that the presidentship of the panchayat is shared in rotation among Muslims and Hindus. The board put up by Hindu Muslim United Sabah is an indication of this unity.
Such boards have existed in the villages for more than 30 years. Similar boards are also found in some Hindu majority villages and they have contributed to preserving social harmony.
Quoting Kuppuramu, State President of VHP, and Ramanathpuram District President of RSS, presented in the article as a lawyer, it is claimed that in Pamban “the Panchayath road has a board put by the Islamic extremists banning outsiders from the road.”
The photograph of the notification which Pioneer has not published is given here:
This notice - permitting only women to use the lane - is not on any public thoroughfare of Pamban. It is not on any main road. It is on the wall of a house in a narrow by-lane in the Muslim mohallah of Pamban.
Four such notice boards were put up by the local Jamaath (not by ‘Muslim extremists’) about 4 years ago following an eve teasing incident.
When we have exclusive buses, exclusive seats in buses and separate trains compartments for women what is wrong in providing an exclusive passage for women in the narrow lanes?
All communities are living peacefully in Pamban. It has not given any space for any fascist organisation to rear its ugly head.
Pamban village also encompasses Kundukaal, where Swami Vivekanada first landed on January 26, 1897, after his famous lecture in Chicago.
Raja of Ramanathpuram welcomed him at Kundukaal. When the Ramakrishna Mutt wanted to construct a commemorative structure in honour of Vivekanada, it had to approach a Muslim family namely the Mandapam Maraicoir family who owned that particular place.
The Mutt was prepared to pay market value for the land. However the Muslim family preferred to donate 5 acres to the Mutt to build the commemorative structure. This is now known as Vivekanada Illam and was declared open in 2009.
The article also quotes Kuppuramu as saying, “during the DMK regime in 2008, some Muslim youths hoisted the national flag with chappals at Vethalai village. The case was hushed up by Hassan Ali, the then MLA of the Congress... there was another instance of tricolour with chappals being hoisted in Puthumadom (sic) village which too was hushed up Hassan Ali.”
No such event dishonouring our National flag had happened in Vethalai village. In Pudumadam five students studying in classes five and six playfully hoisted chappals for which they were charged.
The police booked them and produced them in the court and they were fined Rs1000 each. There was no question of the matter being hushed up by the then MLA Hassan Ali.
Kuppuramu further states, “nearly 50 per cent of the business establishments in Ramanathapuram are owned by members of the Muslim community. A Hindu can launch his business only if he gets approval from the Muslim community. This is an unwritten rule in the district.”
This is a blatant lie. Ramanthapuram District has of course the highest Muslim population in the state in terms of percentage. Even then it does not cross 15 per cent. According to the 2001 census, the district population comprises 80.41% Hindus, 14.4% Muslims, Christians 5.08% and others 0.11%.
Any Hindu can open a business venture in Ramanathapuram and they do not need anybody’s permission, leave alone the Muslim community’s.
According to Suba Nagarajan, a BJP leader in Ramanathapuram, who has been quoted in the article, “Religious conversion and smuggling are rampant in the district. Panna Ismail and Bilal Mohammed, who murdered Hindu leader Vellaiyappan in July 2013 at Vellore had come to Keezhakarai after the murder. The police should probe the details of their visit to Keezhakarai.”
If Mr. Suba Nagarajan is really in the know of such movements and activities, he should have brought them in writing to the notice of the District Police authorities. That no such complaint has been lodged is an indication about the flimsy nature of these sweeping statements.
Quoting N Suriyaprakash, the Ramanathpuram Town President of BJP, the article states that “for the last 20 years, only Muslim candidates had been elected from this constituency.”
It is true Ramanathapuram has been represented by Muslims belonging to various secular parties from 1996. What is wrong in it when someone is elected in a free and fair election? Prior to 1996, for 44 years the seat was represented by Hindus belonging to various secular parties.
As the MLA representing Ramanathapuram constituency I have spoken a lot about improving the infrastructural facilities and extending other facilities to help Hindu pilgrims visiting the famous Shri Ramanathaswamy Temple and other important temples in the region.
True Hindu leaders in Rameswaram like Swamy Pravananda of Ramakrishna Kudil would vouch for my services to all sections of the society.
Hindus, Muslims, and Christians in Ramanathapuram District will never fall a prey to the nefarious designs of vested interests and will continue to live in harmony, peace and mutual cooperation.
Dr. M.H.Jawahirullah is Member of Legislative Assembly, Ramanathapuram Constituency, Tamil Nadu, and is the Legislative Party Leader of Manithaneya Makkal Katchi