After CPI-M, WikiLeaks embarrasses IUML in Kerala



Kannur: After causing discomfiture in CPI(M) in Kerala, US diplomatic cables leaked by WikiLeaks have embarrassed the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) by suggesting divisions in the party over its approach towards extremist outfit National Development Front (NDF).

The whistleblower site revealed that a cable allegedly sent to Washington by the US consulate in Chennai a few years back quoted IUML leader MK Muneer as having said that party leaders like PK Kunhalikutty "shielded" NDF activists to secure "selfish" interests.

Muneer and Kunhalikutty, both members in the Congress-led UDF Cabinet now, stoutly refuted the charge, holding that the party leaders never had differences on its firm stand against extremist outfits.

Media reports on the cables quoted IUML leader MK Munner as allegedly saying NDF may not have developed connections with major extremist outfits like al Qaeda but is run by former SIMI activists.

The cable quoted Muneer as having alleged, "NDF has been infiltrating into IUML despite the party decision in 1999 to resist such moves. He (Muneer) blamed IUML leaders such as PK Kunhalikutty for 'shielding the NDF for the leaders' own selfish interests."

Reacting to the development, Muneer said, "This is totally baseless and I completely refute it. There is no division in the party. We have no reason to brief the US officials about our party affairs."

Kunhalikutty said IUML did not take the WikiLeaks revelation seriously and has always taken a firm stand against extremism.

A diplomatic cable leaked by WikiLeaks had said Kerala CPI(M) leaders, including former Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan and party state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, had met US officials and discussed foreign investment possibilities when the party was in power in the state.

While admitting they had met US officials, CPI(M) leaders, however, said they did not compromise the party's stand on foreign investment.

"We have not invited the US officials. They met us. There was no special agenda when the meeting took place," Vijayan said on the issue.

Adding another dimension to the issue, another cable quoted former MD of pro-CPI(M) channel Kairali as having told US officials that Achuthanandan (who was Chief Minister at the time) was a stumbling block in the way of the state's development.

John Brittas, who quit the pro-CPI(M) channel a few months back, said he did not say that Achuthanandan was a hurdle for development.

He said he had only told the US officials that this sort of an impression was sought to be created by the media about the LDF government.

PTI