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Veteran IUML leader Mohammedali Shihab Thangal dies

Condolence messages pour in lauding his services

Sunday, August 02, 2009 05:09:55 PM, Agencies

Mohammedali Shihab Thangal

Malappuram (Kerala): Veteram Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader Panakkad Syed Mohammedali Shihab Thangal passed away at a private hospital in Kerala’s Malappuram district yesterday August 1.


Panakkad Thangal died following cardiac arrest at a private hospital near Malappuram. He was 73.


Panakkad Thangal had dominated the Kerala politics for over three decades. He is survived by his second wife Ayesha Beevi, two sons and three daughters. Thangal married Ayesha Beevi in 2006 after the passing away of his first wife Shareefa Fatima Beevi.


Thangal always resisted pressures to take up plum postings in Muslim countries that had good relations with India and also preferred to keep away from the corridors of power. For several decades he had been the fulcrum on which the IUML, the second most powerful ally of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala, stood steady.


Thangal, born May 4, 1936, was the eldest son of Panakkad Pookoya Thangal. After his schooling in Calicut, he went for higher studies on Islam in Tirur. In 1958, he went to Egypt for further studies and obtained a higher degree from Al Azhar University in 1961. He continued his studies in Cairo University and pursued a doctorate in Arabic literature in 1966. On the death of his father in 1975, he took over as president of the Kerala state committee of IUML, a post he held till his death. After the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992, Thangal made a passionate plea to all the Muslims in the state to remain calm.


Thousands of mourners from all walks of life today paid homage to the veteran IUML stalwart.


His funeral held at Panakkad Juma Masjid with state honours today on Sunday.


Condolence messages continue to pour in lauding his services, especially his role in preserving communal and social harmony at the most trying times like demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992. Thangal passed away last night aged 73.

President Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and AICC President Sonia Gandhi sent their condolences while Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan called at his residence this morning to pay homage to the leader.


In her message, Patil said Thangal was a prominent social worker active in public life and the country has lost an eminent figure in him.


In his message, Dr. Singh said, “I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing away of Thangal. He was one of Kerala’s most prominent leaders and led the IUML for many decades with great distinction. He was a nationalist who cherished secular values; and a social worker and a powerful orator.”


“Thangal was a religious scholar with strong academic credentials and will be remembered as a leader who championed the propagation and importance of education. He had the strong following of his community but framed his politics in terms of larger national issues and aspirations,” he added.


“I convey my sincere condolences to his family, his friends and his admirers at this irreparable loss,” the Prime Minister said.






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