5:50 am - Wednesday September 20, 2017

Kerala’s Mathrubhumi newspaper faces online boycott drive from radical Muslim groups

Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi had apologised for reproducing an ‘offensive’ comment about Prophet Muhammad that was posted on social media. The comment was a response to a story on Kerala High Court judge Kemal Pasha’s observations on polygamy among Muslims and Muslim personal law.

On Wednesday, the Calicut edition of Mathrubhumi carried responses to Kemal Pasha’s views in the AppsTalk section of the newspaper. The newspaper was bombarded with reactions, including campaigns on social media demanding an apology.

The Popular Front of India, whose activists had chopped off the hand of a professor at the New Man’s College at Thodupuzha in 2010 for setting a question involving the Prophet, was the first to hit the streets. They were followed by other radical outfits like the Social Democratic Front of India, the National Development Front and the People’s Democratic Party.

The daily readily obliged to their demands by tendering an unconditional apology in its print and online editions on Thursday, social media pages and television channel. This was followed up with a detailed apology on the front page in all its 10 editions in Kerala, four editions in the metros in the country and two overseas editions.

 

“We understood that the reactions to the remarks made by the judge while inaugurating a seminar on the Domestic Violence Act at Kozhikode on Sunday had hurt the believers,” the apology by the Editor said. “We regret for publishing them.”

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The newspaper in its apology said the comment, that was picked up from social media, was added as a reaction to the speech made by Justice Kemal Pasha on the topic ‘Law against domestic abuse’ at a seminar. The judge also faces heat from Muslim scholars for saying that Muslim women faced discrimination under the Muslim personal law.

“We understand the comments hurt the sentiments of followers. We apologise deeply for the error,” the newspaper said. Mathrubhumi also confirmed that it would take appropriate action against those responsible for the ‘careless’ mistake.

 The newspaper management additionally requested the state government to take appropriate action against such comments that are posted on social media.However, outfits like the People’s Democratic Party rejected the publication’s clarification.

 The campaign against Mathrubhumi also continued online.

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Numerous pictures were uploaded on social media showing people burning the newspaper.

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