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Published in the 16-30 Apr 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Anti-US and Israel protests in Kerala
By K Hamza

Calicut: Quite coincidently, the anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq and the assassination of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin by Israeli forces in Palestine provoked the ire of many Muslim organizations and their outfits in Kerala in the last month. This ostensible reason for the disturbance ended in ransacking Coca-Cola godown at Vatakara, in the northern region of Calicut , and smashing glass window panes of the Citibank branch at Cochin in the southern district. For a few hours, the situation remained frighteningly volatile in both places, albeit the bank staff and customers were left unhurt.

The anti-US protest campaign had been launched by some members of Ayyankali Pada, an extremist outfit that had been in the forefront against multinational companies and related bureaucratic corruption in the State. In Vatakara, it was the Revolutionary Youth Organization (RYO) which ransacked the Coco-Cola store. After the attack, the activists fled the site, leaving some leaflets condemning the US-UK imperialist policies. The notices they distributed to the onlookers criticized the BJP Government’s soft pedaling towards the US-Israel’s aggressive policies under its current diplomatic relationship.

America’s relentless support to Israel in suppressing the freedom movement in Palestine and ghastly atrocities unleashed in Iraq have been the driving force in provoking the anti-imperialist elements in the State. The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) Secretary, E. Ahmed, the National Democratic Front chairman Dr. Sayed, the Kerala Ameer of Jama’at-e-Islami Hind Prof. K A Siddique Hassan vehemently condemned the assassination of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin who was the symbol of unflinching determination and unwavering faith in his mission. They further pointed out in a press meeting that the INTIFADA and Hamas are resisting Israel, while the surrounding countries are rendering only lip service since they surrendered their will power to the imperialist forces. They praised Sheikh Ahmed Yassin’s unlimited vision of freedom. The martyrdom of Sheikh will prove, they emphasized, to be a more serious challenge to Zionism than the living leader.

The Jama’at-e-Islami leader pleaded with all peace-loving people to condemn strongly the ghastly murder of the Hamas leader. The Solidarity Youth Movement president Mohammed Ali called upon all nations to isolate Israel in all fields and support the Palestinian freedom movement.

The State president of Janata Dal Veerendrakumar, MP has defended the Palestine Freedom Movement by saying that the voice of the Palestine women who stand in front of Israeli tanks and bulldozers, shouting, "You shoot us, we have no weapons, kill us" is more powerful than the suicide squad’s explosives. Almost all Muslim and secular parties in Kerala have responded with shock and awe to the news of the killing of the freedom fighter and the spiritual leader of Hamas, and they condemned the slaying in strong words.

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