Tehelka hesitate to publish Popular Front’s response to article “Here Come the Pious”

hursday, October 21st, 2010

K. M. Shareef

General Secretary,

Popular Front of India


The Editor & Publisher


M-76, Second Floor,
M-Block Market,
Greater Kailash – Part 2,
New Delhi – 110048.

Sub: The article published about Popular Front of India in Tehelka, dated 9

October 2010.

This has reference to your cover story “Here Come the Pious”. It is extremely regretful that a magazine like Tehelka known for its no-nonsense attitude to reporting has adopted the tendentious style of some our national newspapers which rarely give due respect to truth .The whole report has turned out to be a very successful exercise in suppressing the truth and suggesting the false

Quoting one Ravindran here and one Mathew there the reporter tries to give an air of objectivity to his biased reporting about us. He starts with Rayana, the engineering graduate from Kasargode, who was allegedly threatened by members of Popular Front of India. Responsible officials of the organisation have already denied involvement of any of its members in such activities. In addition, according to the reports of the trusted national news agency (Press Trust of India), regarding the alleged threat, there is no hint to any organizational role. For example,

According to the PTI report dated 28/8/2010, “In her petition, Raihana had stated that after returning to Kerala from Chennai on completion of her course in August last, some neighbours and her distant relative insisted that she should wear Purdah, veil and head scarf. She resisted their interference on her religious freedom.”

The Deccan Herald report “Girl approaches HC after neighbour threatens her to wear Purdah” dated 13/8/2010, quoting the PTI statement issued on 12/8/2010 goes as follows: “Kerala High court on Thursday granted police protection to 22-year-old Aeronautical engineering graduate from Kasaragod district, who was being threatened by her neighbor and few others to wear Purdah. In her petition, Ryhana R Kazi of Vidyanagar, Kasaragod stated that after returning to Kerala from Chennai on completion of her course in August last, some neighbours and her distant relative insisted that she should wear Purdah, veil and head scarf. She resisted their interference on her religious freedom. According to the petitioner, she was threatened by her neighbour, Mohammed Kavugoli of kasaragod and his henchmen with dire consequences if she refuses to wear purdah, veil and head scarf.”

In the press conference conducted by the girl at Calicut Press Club recently when the reporters asked about the link of any organisation to the threat received by her, the girl has made it clear that she has no such information.

As per the girl’s complaint to the Kerala HC, a division bench comprising Justice K M Joseph and Justice M L Joseph Francis directed Kasaragod Police to provide police protection to the petitioner. Neither the division bench nor the police officers mention the name of any organisation.

There are also doubts as to why Rayana was threatened for wearing a particular dress when a large number of Muslim girls and women go out to study and work in Kerala without following the Islamic dress code. To put it simple, Kerala is fortunate for having no moral policing by any organizations. It t is true that some people have dragged the name of Popular Front of India into the issue, seemingly in support of their false allegation that we are Indian Taliban, a strange appellation for a movement which never preaches Islam nor works for sharia rule. It seems that Tehelka reporter has been taken for a ride some reporters with their own axe to grind against growing neo-social movements. It is amazing why the Tehelka reporter is so intolerant towards the Muslim dress style. The diversity in dress style, food habits, greetings etc are considered as the positive elements of the diverse culture of our nation. People following different religious ideologies follow life styles as according to their faith. Even in the case of women, Hindu women wear particular dress symbolizing their caste, sect etc; Christian nuns wear full-cover dress including headscarf. If someone feels agitated over only over Muslim women’s dress, then who is to be blamed?

The reporter has also left truth on the lurch when he writes that those convicted in the Marad murder case belonged to NDF, the state organization which later merged with Popular Front. This is blatant lie. He could have just checked the Kerala Legislative Assembly Proceedings or gone through the judgment of the Marad Special Court to find the truth. A K Antony was the CM when the massacre took place which was nothing but revenge killings. He revealed in the Assembly that majority of the people arrested belonged to either CPM or Muslim League. The Marad trial and verdict are already over. The convicts are now in jail. Let your reporter pay a visit to the jail and enquire about their party affiliations. We are sure, none of them belong to us. And for you information, we have no cadres in Marad.

In the affidavit filed by the police in Kerala High Court the police never said that Popular Front of India has links with Al Qaeda or LeT. I quote from the affidavit filed by Dy. Secretary to the State Government Home Dept: “But there is no evidence available regarding the alleged connection of PFI with Hisbul Mujahideen,.LeT and Al Qaeda”. The police also said that that proper enquiry had been conducted about us. Your reporter could have at least gone through the PTI report (dateline: Kochi, 6 Sep 2010) which reads: “The Kerala Government today informed the state high court that Investigators have not obtained evidence regarding the alleged connections of Popular Front of India (PFI), which allegedly launched a attack on a college lecturer in July, with Hizbul Mujahideen, Laskar-e Taiba (Let) and Al Queda. R Rajashekharan Nair, Deputy Secretary (Home) submitted in a counter affdaivit filed in a PIL by gireesh babu seeking a ban on PFI and to handover the investigation on the attack of the lecturer to National Investigation Agency (NIA).”

We wonder why your reporter is also accusing us of sending a team of scholars to RBI officials to present our case on Islamic Banking. While we may be happy to welcome a different economic model so far we have not done anything like that. Let your reporter check who went for what.

Why? And when does Tehelka started replacing real investigative journalism with ‘police journalism’ in which the reporter is at ease just quoting the police and intelligence ‘revelations’. And when does Tehelka started taking the moves of the US administration as yardstick for calling this or that organization terrorist or extremist. Is supporting the resistance in Iraq or Palestine or even Afghanistan a crime? Is taking anti-establishment positions a reason for publishing a slimy report about an organization? Can anyone worth his salt think that “the fastest growing organization” will be able to give mobile phones, jobs, motor cycles and money to each and every one of its cadres. Alas, the report bluffs: “But the biggest inducement for the youth to join the outfit is jobs.” Then it should have Midas touch. What the special investigation teams in Kerala are doing when the local representatives of WAMY and Rabita distribute money to community organizations?

I have touched upon only a few of the allegations contained in your story. I wish the Tehelka editors were a bit more careful about the facts and the credibility and image of the courageous periodical they publish.

Yours faithfully,

K. M. Shareef

General Secretary

Popular Front of India



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