The participation of a Hamas leader in a pro-Palestine event held at Malappuram in Kerala has stirred up a political storm with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) calling for legal action against the organisers. Khaled Mashal, a former head of Hamas, virtually addressed the rally organised by the Solidarity Youth Movement, the youth wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami.
Kerala BJP president K. Surendran termed Mashel’s participation in the event as ‘alarming’ and questioned why the state police was not taking action against the organisers. “Hamas leader Khaled Mashel’s virtual address at the Solidarity event in Malappuram is alarming. Where is (Chief Minister) Pinarayi Vijayan’s Kerala Police? Under the guise of ‘Save Palestine’, they are glorifying Hamas, a terrorist organisation, and its leaders as ‘warriors’. This is unacceptable!,” Surendran said in a post on X, tagging the office of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
BJP leader Dushyant Gautam termed it an “anti-national activity” and urged the CPI (M)-led Kerala government to prevent such events. “The country and the Government of India oppose any terrorist organisation. We oppose Hamas. The participation of the Hamas leader in the meeting is anti-national activity. The (state) government should stop this,” he said. Gautam also targeted the I.N.D.I. A bloc parties, accusing them of continuously making such efforts to degrade Sanatan Dharma and Hindu religion.
The Solidarity Youth Movement, however, justified the virtual participation of the Hamas leader. “He (Mashal) took part in our programme organised to express solidarity with the Palestinian people and to condemn the onslaught by Israel. No need to see anything unusual in that,” SYM state president Suhaib C.T. said. Suhaib said Hamas is not an organisation that is operational in India or a banned outfit, and so his participation is not a crime under the law. It may be noted that Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, while participating in a Palestine solidarity rally organised by the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) a day ago, had triggered a row after he said the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel was a terrorist strike.
Facing an intense social media attack, Tharoor issued a clarification, saying he has always been with the people of Palestine and he does not agree with the propagation of just one sentence from his speech at the rally. The IUML is a key ally of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala.