Social Democratic Party of India

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Social Democratic Party of India
PresidentMK Faizy
SecretaryAlphonse Franko
General SecretaryElyas Muhammad Thumbe
FounderErappungal Abubacker
Founded21 June 2009
HeadquartersC-4, Hazrat Nizamuddin West New Delhi, India-110013
Labour wingSDTU (Social Democratic Trade Union)
IdeologySocial democracy
ColoursGreen Red
ECI StatusRegistered-Unrecognized Party by ECI[1]
Party flag
SDPI Flag.jpg
Website
www.sdpi.in

Social Democratic Party of India, popularly known as SDPI, is an Indian political party founded on 21 June 2009[2][3] in New Delhi. It is regarded as the political wing of the Islamic organization Popular Front of India (PFI).[4][5][6][7][8] It was registered with the Election Commission of India on 13 April 2010. MK Faizey is the party's National President.[9][10]

Activities[edit]

The Jisha Murder Case in 2016 created state-wide agitation for a speedier justice. The SDPI had blocked the Kerala CM Oommen Chandy who had come to Perumbavur to meet the kin of Jisha. Post-visit, the CM said that the investigations are being carried out with efficiency.[11]

Reservation in private school[edit]

In line with the mandate of the Right to Education, the SDPI sought 25% of seats in private schools in the district of Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu for the academic year 2015. The petition to the district collector also asked for transparency in school admissions and fee structure.[12]

Protests against the Government and Police[edit]

The SDPI held various protests across India, opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), including burning copies of the bill.[13][14][15] In Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, members of SDPI hoisted national flags at their homes and shops.[16][17] Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan accused the SDPI of using the anti CAA protest for creating division among people.[18]

The SDPI openly supported protesting farmers in Delhi. Its members conducted a statewide protest in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala. On January 26 in Tamil Nadu, Coimbatore Members of this party carried a coffin made out of banana leaves, bamboo trees, and vegetables, symbolising that the farm laws do not safeguard the farmers’ interests.[19] In Karnataka SDPI Members and people rallied in Belthangady town to support the farmer protest.[20]

In April 2015, the SDPI protested the police encounter of the 20 workers from Tamil Nadu working in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The party accused the AP police of staging a fake encounter in the name of self-defence and demanded the government to lodge a criminal case against the police personnel responsible for these killings.[21]

Demand for road[edit]

In February 2016, around 30 cadres attempted to stage a ‘sleeping protest’ in front of the Divisional Office of Department of Highways, demanding the repair of the PalayamkottaiPapanasam Road (in Tamil Nadu). Other political parties and the public had been repeatedly appealing to the Department of Highways to have this 52-km stretch re-laid. The officials had chosen to ignore the plea and were keen on re-laying only stretches that were used by ministers and other VIPs during the governor's visit to Manonmaniam Sundaranar University.[22]

Preservation of religious sentiments[edit]

In December 2016, SDPI organized nationwide campaign demanding to rebuild Babri Masjid in the same place, which was demolished by some Hindu activists in December 1992.[23] During this campaign, the District President of Dakshina Kannada was arrested for inciting communal hatred by staging a skit.[24][25] The protests were held in Tamil Nadu, Delhi, and Karnataka.[26][27]

In March 2016, the Mathrubhumi reproduced an offensive comment about Prophet Muhammad that was initially posted on Facebook.

The newspaper was forced to offer an apology after the party and other organizations outlined how the post had "hurt the sentiments of the community", with strong protest outside the newspaper's office.[28]

During COVID-19[edit]

On 28 April 2020, SDPI Tamil Nadu State filed public interest litigation (or PIL) in the Madras High Court requesting transit of Tabligh Jamaat attendees from Tamil Nadu who are stranded in Delhi and in other states. On 13 May 2020, Madras High court directed the Tamil Nadu government to arrange a transport and quarantine facility for the attendees stranded in Delhi.[29][30]

SDPI also filed PIL in Madras High Court on 16 April 2020 alleged communal flavour to the coronavirus news in sections of media.[31] Seeking directions to comply with the Supreme Court's recent order to publish official version on the pandemic.[32]

Charges and accusations[edit]

Accusation by Sunni outfits[edit]

Sunni outfits of Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama and Sunni Yuvajana Sangham campaigned against SDPI, accusing SDPI of being extremist.[33]

Murder of CPIM, Congress, IUML workers[edit]

Nine PFI and SDPI activists were found guilty of killing a Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M)worker in 2008.[34] SDPI activists were found guilty of murdering Muslim Youth League worker in Kozhikode.[35] SDPI members were arrested for murder of Congress worker in Chavakkad.[36] Several SDPI offices have been raided by Kerala Police,[37][38] Suspected weapons training camps and arms stockpiling were seized in Narath, Kannur district from the offices and other centres of PFI and SDPI.[39][40] Though the party denied any involvement, the charge-sheet filed by National Investigation Agency (NIA) blamed PFI and their political outfit Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) in conducting arms training camps across the state under the pretence of health awareness camps and yoga classes.[41][42] According to the FIR, the 24 accused in the case were the members of the PFI and the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI). Cases were registered under sections 143, 147, 153(B), R/W 149 of IPC, section 5(1)(a) r/w 25(1)(a) of Arms Act, section 4 of Explosives Act and section 18 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of the Indian Penal Code.[43][44][45]

Four SDPI activists were arrested for attack on two CPI(M) members at Mangalam, Tirur, on 29 January 2014.[46][47] SDPI accepted the responsibility after a video of this violent attack was aired by major television channels. However, the party justified the attacks reasoning that it needs to safeguard its members. As per the party's district president, the attack was just an emotional reaction from its members to an attack the CPM executed against one of its members on the same morning.[48]

Murder of RSS members[edit]

Nandu, 23, a RSS worker was hacked to death in February 2021 allegedly by workers of SDPI. BJP observed a hartal as a protest to these killings.[49] In December 2021, KS Shan, state secretary of SDPI was hacked to death by a group helped by RSS. According to the police, this was in retaliation to the murder of Nandu by SDPI workers at the start of the year.[50] The next day, BJP OBC Morcha Leader Ranjith Sneenivasan was murdered in his house and police speculates that this is connected to the previous 2 murders because this is committed in the same time span. SDPI leaders were arrested in the following days.[51]

Anti-CAA violence[edit]

A police probe found that the Kerala Muslim outfit was involved in the Mangaluru anti-CAA violence. Police alleged that provocative messages were shared by groups related to the PFI and SDPI.[52] 30 people were arrested in connection with these violence including members of PFI and SDPI.

Controversies[edit]

2014 Independence Day[edit]

In 2014 a private school in Karicode, Kerala removed Vande Mataram from their Independence Day programme after workers of the SDPI threatened to disrupt the programme, saying that some of the words in the song were against the religious beliefs of the Muslim community. Fearing trouble, the school authorities dropped the singing of the national song and namaste gesture from a dance number performed. This issue sparked protests from youth organisations of various parties. SDPI justified the changes in the programme saying that they approached the school management after several parents complained that some words in Vande Mataram and the namaste gesture were against their religious beliefs.[53][54][55]

2020 Bengaluru Riots[edit]

On the night of 11 August 2020, violent clashes took place in the Indian city of Bangalore, Karnataka. Provoked by an inflammatory Facebook post on Muhammad that was shared by the nephew of the Akhanda Srinivas Murthy, a state legislator of the Indian National Congress, a Muslim mob arrived at his house in protest which turned violent.

The clashes between the police and the mobs started around the residence of the legislator and spread to the police stations of KG Halli and DJ Halli. The incident resulted in the imposition of a curfew in the affected areas. 3 people were killed after police opened fire on the crowds. 30–80 policemen and several journalists, were injured by armed assailants. Murthy's property was torched during the period of violence.

The following day, over 100 people were arrested by the police. Some of the crowds were also allegedly led by members of the SDPI and has led to the arrest of a few of its leaders.[56]

Charges of Sedition[edit]

On 31 December 2020, some SDPI workers were allegedly caught shouting "Pakistan Zindabad" slogans in Karnataka. Charges of sedition were filed against them.[57][58] The SDPI has denied the allegations.[59]

Hijab row[edit]

The hijab row was brought to the attention of the media by Ansar Ahmed, the district president of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, a voluntary organisation.[60] The Campus Front of India (CFI), the student wing of the Islamic organisation PFI,[61][62] threatened a protest, prompting the college to arrange a police presence.[60] The political wing of the PFI, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), is also said to have threatened protests.[63] The college authorities met and talked with the parents but remained firm in their resolution not to allow religious attire.[64][65]

Regional presence[edit]

SDPI has representations in 16 states of India including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andrapradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Puducherry, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Bihar, Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana and Manipur. It has made state level and district level local committees in most of the states.[66] SDPI has shown its presence in recent elections 68 SDPI Candidate Won BBMP election held in Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan.[67][68] The party won 14 seats in four municipalities in the 2010 local body election in Kerala.[69][70] Karnataka saw more than one lakh votes polled in favor of the party in the 24 Assembly segment, but the party's individual candidates did not win any seat. He pointed out forming local alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party to underline his party's secular credentials. However, by nominating only two non-Muslim candidates in the 24 constituencies (both in reserved constituencies), the SDPI reaffirmed its image as a party in pursuit of the Muslim vote. The SDPI State president also claimed that as the national level, the party shares a good rapport with the Janata Dal (United) as well as the Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party.[71]

Electoral presence[edit]

Indian General Elections[edit]

Indian general election, 2014[edit]

The SDPI fielded 29 candidates in six states. The party's 2014 Election Manifesto contained several issues concerning domestic and foreign policies. The basic needs of the people, democratic rights, eradication of corruption, SCs/STs, minorities etc. A new national water policy, implementation of Ranganath Mishra Commission and Sachar Committee reports, 100% literacy by 2020 and eradication of corruption. All international treaties related to India is to be ratified by the Parliament & the Nehruvian period status should be reinstated as the leader of the Non-alignment movement. The manifesto also included the need for 10% reservation to Muslims with the inclusion of Muslim and Christian dalits in the SC category with the sub-plan for minorities and reservation for women of SC, ST, OBC and minorities in the Lok Sabha. Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and AFSPA would be repealed, and the enactment of Communal Violence (Prevention) Bill would be at the top priority of the party.[9]

In the state of Kerala, the party ran candidates in Ponnani and Malappuram. In the state of Karnataka, the Social Democratic Party of India with the support of Janata Dal (Secular) contested in Dakshin Kannada. The JD-S has extended its support "on the principles and ideologies laid by the party at the time of its (SDPI's) birth".[72] Among the various parties who contested for the 2014 Indian general election in Kerala, SDPI had the highest number of candidates with criminal charges. Fourteen out of the party's 20 candidates faced criminal charges.[73]

The result of general elections to constitute India's 16th Lok Sabha was announced on 16 May 2014. The party got 0.07% vote share and did not win any seat.

Indian general election, 2019[edit]

The party contested in 15 seats in six states – Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, and Delhi in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. While in Andhra Pradesh, apart from one Lok Sabha seat, it fielded two candidates in the Assembly elections which were held simultaneously.[74] In Dakshina Kannada constituency, SDPI managed to get 46,839 votes, increasing its vote share by 1.22 per cent compared to 2014 in which it managed to get 27,254 votes (2.26 per cent).[75] In Tamil Nadu SDPI took alliance with T. T. V. Dhinakaran's AMMK party and contest in Central Chennai constituency. Party National Vice President KKSM Dehlan Baqavi contest on this constituency. He managed to take 23741 votes (3.02%).[76]

State Legislative Assembly Elections[edit]

Karnataka Legislative Assembly election, 2013[edit]

In the May 2013 Assembly polls, the party contested in 24 seats out of which seven were contested from Dakshina Kannada district and five from Bangalore. Its state president Abdul Majeed fought against the three-time legislator and former minister Tanveer Sait in Narashimaraja assembly segment, a constituency dominated by Muslims.[77] He lost the election by 8370 votes and came in second.[78]

Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly election, 2016[edit]

The party contested independently in 30 seats in the May 2016 assembly polls under the 'Gas Cylinder' symbol.[79] It got 65,978 votes (0.15%) and did not win any seats.

Kerala Legislative Assembly election, 2016[edit]

The general election for the fourteenth legislative assembly was held on 16 May 2016, to elect representatives from 140 constituencies in Kerala. The party fielded candidates in 89 constituencies independently.[80] It got 0.61% vote share and didn't manage to secure any seats.

Karnataka Legislative Assembly election, 2018[edit]

SDPI had declared Abdul Majid K H as its candidate from Narasimharaja constituency in 2018 for the Karnataka Legislative Assembly[81] but failed to win any seats.

Local body elections[edit]

SDPI had contested in the 2022 Tamil Nadu urban local body elections. SDPI had won 1 ward in the Coimbatore Municipal Corporation election.[82][83]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]