Jamaat chief refuses to take call
Deccan Chronicle| amiya meethal
‘No clear-cut policy... We are neither for nor against. It is an individual choice’
KOZHIKODE: Jamaat-e-Islami, which has been accused of preventing people from vaccinating their children in Malappuram district, is reluctant to take a stand on the issue even after the death of two children due to non-immunisation.
Jamaat Kerala Ameer M.I. Abdul Aziz said that it does not have a clear cut policy on the issue.
"We are neither for vaccination nor against it. It is an individual choice. There are Jaamat leaders who are for and against it. Even expert physicians say that vaccination has been carried out for the pharma industry. We need deeper debate in the issue," he said.
But at the grassroots level, the picture is different. Many health workers have alleged that a concerted campaign by Jamaat cadres had been going on in the rural regions against vaccination. Being a cadre organization, Jamaat has a definite say in the matters.
"Jamaat cadres are carrying out the anti-vaccination campaign with paper cuttings quoting a few naturopaths. They often connect the anti-vaccination move with a holistic and environment-friendly living," says a junior health inspector.
At the same time, vaccination are being given in the hospitals run by Jamaat like Shanti hospital Omasserry in Kozhikode and Ansar hospital Peru-mbilavu like any other other hospitals.
What pulls back Jamaat-e-Islami, which speaks on human rights, environment protection and international issues from taking a pro-vaccination call? "Jamaat is the extreme fundamentalist type which wants society to go back to the 7th century. They had successfully put a mask of progressiveness with the help of their well-established media network," said noted social critic M.N. Karasserry.
According to him, the core issue is the Islamist organisations’ failure to address modernity. A top official in the social justice department told DC that non-immunization was a violation of child rights and section 23 in the Juvenile Justice Act can be invoked against the resistance groups.
According to official data, 23,912 children under five were out of the immunization drive in Malappuram.