Even before the ink on the central government gazette notification proscribing PFI and its five affiliates for five years, down in Coimbatore, a group of members from various Islamic organizations came together and officially launched the Islamic Federation of Tamil Nadu (IFTN), a non-governmental outfit on October 1. Interestingly, almost all members are from the Social Democratic Party of India, the Islamic Law Research Council, and a few other organizations. SDPI was sparred as it is an unrecognized political party registered with the Election Commission. It is the political arm of PFI and has contested polls in Tamil Nadu, Bihar and Kerala.
IFTN’s interim Chief Coordinator M Rahamutullah told the media, “the organization was formed as an NGO with five objectives such as making education facilities available to all, recovery of the properties that belong to the Waqf Board which are illegally occupied, arbitration and mediation centre for Muslims who face problems in marriage, creation of a bank to give interest-free loans, and a law university for the benefit of Muslim students”.
He said that the federation would be registered under the Society Registration Act and India Trusts Act, which aimed to secure the socio-economic interest of Muslims. Rahmatullah refuted the allegations that they have connections with the banned organization PFI. He said, “IFTN aims are socio-economic aspects of the Muslim community; it will follow the principles enshrined in the Constitution of India. We have created over 50 what’s App groups for people, and police officials are members. We have already informed the Intelligence agencies, both state and central, about our activities.
The interim chief said, “in the coming 2024 Lok Sabha polls, we will play a crucial role. We will unite all Muslims and be a deciding factor in which political party should be elected with our vote bank”.
He said, “IFTN has been functioning for more than three months unofficially, and this is the second such meeting to launch it officially and to select office-bearers”. The first meeting was held in Trichy. Its headquarters would be either in Trichy or Chennai, which is yet to be finalized.
Meanwhile, leaders of several political parties, including the Congress, the CPM, the CPI and the VCK, announced on October 1 that they would be holding a “communal harmony human chain” at 4 pm on October 11 across TN. But the Chennai police Commissioner Shankar Jiwal banned all types of protests, agitations, rallies, and processions from September 30 to 15th of this month. It is pertinent to note that Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) president Thol Thirumavalvan filed a petition for a direction to set aside the order of a single judge allowing the RSS route marches across the State on October 2, which the court has refused.
Leaders of several political parties, including the Congress, the CPM, the CPI and the VCK, announced on Saturday that they would be organizing a “communal harmony human chain” at 4 pm on October 11 across TN.
Dravidar Kazhagam, CPI, the MDMK, the IUML, the DK, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi and Thamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi, DMDK, INL, SDPI, Naam Thamizhar Katchi, CPI (ML) and many other parties and organizations have expressed their support to the event, according to a joint statement of these parties. They said the same reasons cited for denying permission to a religious organization (RSS) could not be attributed to their parties, which, they said, were functioning with the avowed objectives of emancipation of women, abolition of caste and untouchability, fighting against imperialism, uplifting the socially and economically weak, promoting secular values among the people, etc.
Congress, former president Rahul Gandhi, is taking Bharat Jodo Yatra, but the TN unit is joining the human chain agitation, which is ironic. Thirumavalavan said after consulting with the parties who have expressed their participation, we have decided to go ahead with our human chain and dharmic protest on October 11.