Malayalam Writer Embraces Islam to Protest Against Former Naxal Leader's Cremation
Thiruvananthapuram: Noted Malayalam author and activist Kamal C Chavara on Friday converted to Islam to protest against the cremation of social activist and former Naxal leader Najmal Babu who passed away on Tuesday.
Chavara, who announced his conversion at a protest march held in front of the Kerala secretariat, changed his name to Kamal C Najmal and held a ‘janaza’ (funeral) prayers for the late activist.
Chavara had taken to Facebook on Tuesday to announce his conversion soon after Najmal’s kin refused to bury him at Cheraman Perumal Mosque as per his last wish. Najmal had written to the mosque authority in 2013, expressing his wish to be buried at their graveyard in Thrissur district’s Kodungallur.
Najmal, previously known as TN Joy, had converted to Islam in 2015 to protest against the intolerance the community faces. The move had led to a massive debate in Kerala’s intellectual circles.
One of the leading faces of the Naxalite movement in 1970s, Najmal was jailed during the Emergency. He was known for his campaigns demanding pension for the Emergency detainees.
Explaining his decision, Chavara wrote on Facebook, “I embraced Islam during the programme organised by Anti Hindu Secular Collective in Thiruvananthapuram. It was organised to vent ire against denial of burial to Najmal Babu at Cheraman Mosque as per Islamic customs.”
He added, “A protest rally was also held and activists shouted slogans against Hindutva fascism. Later, I went to a mosque where I took part in the special Friday prayers. I was privileged to perform my prayers with believers. I felt excited when Muslim brothers there embraced me by expressing their affection towards a neo Muslim.”
Chavara had earlier said converting to Islam was a revolutionary act in India.