,Secular rural sports may be a new term for many, but it may be a new one for the people of Manjeshwar in Kasaragod district of Kerala. The Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) organized one such program on July 20 at Paivalike gram panchayat.
The previous day saw an attempt by the right-wing backed Veera Kesari Club to organize a special sporting event for Hindus allegedly. This is the third time that Sangh Parivar groups are trying to mix religion in sports under the guise of sports clubs.
The DYFI strongly condemned the repeated attempts of fringe groups in the district and announced its continuation to thwart attempts at polarisation. The sporting event organized by DYFI Manjeshwaram Block witnessed enthusiastic participation from various sections of the population.
The Manjeshwaram assembly constituency is one of the strongholds of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which had finished second in the last two assembly elections. Such sporting events are considered a ploy to polarize the population for electoral gains.
Secular sports festival organized
Organizing of sports events in paddy fields after the harvesting season during monsoon is a regular affair in some parts of Kasaragod district. Many sports and arts clubs take the lead in organizing rural sports that usually attract different sections of the population without prejudice.
Veera Kesari Club organized one such program in Balur area of Pavlik Panchayat by giving special invitations to Hindus on posters. The poster reads, “Warm welcome to Hindus.”
DYFI members immediately marched to the paddy fields where events were organized and protested, the club allowed people of all religions to participate, which was accepted after police intervention. Police have registered a case under IPC 153 against Veera Kesari Club for organizing an event exclusively for Hindus.
,The DYFI immediately convened a secular sports meeting in the same paddy fields within the next two days. Scores of people of all religions participated with enthusiasm, rejecting the divisive policies of right-wing groups”, said DYFI Kasaragod District Secretary Rajesh Vellat newsclick,
The rural sports organized included kabaddi, volleyball and tug of war for both men and women.
The organizers underestimated the content of the posters, but the DYFI has accused right-wing clubs of plagiarizing the idea of holding games for Hindus alone.
,Will fight against right wing polarization
Manjeshwaram Block, a part of Manjeshwaram Assembly constituency in Kasaragod, shares its border with the state of Karnataka. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is active in the district with around 37% Muslim population.
Right-wing-backed clubs have repeatedly attempted to mix religion and sport on the past two occasions. They managed to organize a Kabaddi tournament before it came to light.
,In 2018 these clubs planned a sports meet only for Hindus. To counter these divisive efforts, DYFI organized secular cricket tournaments across the state. We will ensure the defeat of saffronisation of playgrounds”, Vellat said.
Manjeshwaram assembly constituency is one of the few seats on which the BJP had its hopes in the 2021 assembly elections. But, despite some close encounters, victory remains elusive.
,The frustration of the right-wing forces in polarizing the population is for cheap electoral gains. They are repeatedly trying to create communal tension. DYFI will fight against such forces to ensure the unity of the people in a secular state like Kerala”, Vellat said.
The divisive policies of the Sangh Parivar are well known, but attempts to polarize sports have left many stunned. DYFI has announced to organize a series of events against attempts to polarize right-wing organizations.