Kerala Muslims seek election date change

| Updated: 18 March, 2024 2:27 pm IST
Indian Union Muslim League

MALAPPURAM: In a move that underscores the intersection of religion and politics, several Muslim groups in Kerala, including the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), have approached the Election Commission of India (ECI), seeking a change in the election date. They argue that holding elections on a Friday would cause inconvenience to believers.

The groups have termed the ECI’s decision as discriminatory and a violation of constitutional rights. A statement signed by 19 leaders of various organisations, including IUML and Samastha Kerala Jem-Iyyathul Ulama, highlighted that the first phase of the elections falls on a Friday, April 19, and the second phase on April 26, also a Friday.

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The statement read, “The decision will create a difficult situation for Muslims, the largest minority community in the country, to fully take part in the election process in the biggest democracy in the world.”

The groups have urged the ECI to fix another day for the elections and have called upon the Kerala government to officially raise the demand before the ECI. The Muslim groups, primarily based in Malappuram, expressed concern that the decision could hamper the chances of some community members exercising their franchise as they have to attend the Friday afternoon prayers.

According to the official census 2011 and population data 2024 of Malappuram district, Muslims constitute 70.24% of the district’s population, which totals 4,112,920. Hindus form a minority, making up 27.60% of the total population.

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The signatories in the statement include prominent leaders such as IUML state president Panakkad Syed Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal, Samastha Kerala Jem-Iyyathul Ulama president Syed Muhammad Jiffiri Muthukoya Thangal, and Kerala Muslim Jama’at leader Kanthapuram A P Aboobacker Musaliyar. IUML state general secretary PMA Salam stated that holding the election on a Friday will cause problems for believers and assured that the party will bring the issue to the attention of the ECI.

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