The Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday called for an investigation into a pro-Palestinian rally in Kerala’s Malappuram, during which a former chief of militant group Hamas made an online speech.

The rally was organised by the Jamaat-e-Islami’s youth wing Solidarity Youth Movement on October 27. Former Hamas chief Khaled Mashal virtually addressed the event.

The rally was organised against the backdrop of Israel stepping up its ground and aerial strikes in Gaza. Israel has also knocked out the internet and communication services, cutting off 2.3 million people from contact with each other as well as the world.

Tel Aviv’s offensive came after Hamas on October 7 launched a series of attacks in Israeli territory, leaving over 1,400 dead, most of them civilians.

Addressing the Kerala rally, Mashal said people from across the world must support Palestinian fighters trying to “regain the Al-Aqsa Mosque” in Jerusalem, one of Islam’s three holiest sites, The Indian Express reported.

“Israel is taking revenge on our residents,” the former Hamas chief said. “Houses are being demolished. They have destroyed more than half of Gaza. They are destroying churches, temples, universities, and even UN institutions. What is meant by this attack is the evacuation of Gaza, and they are retaliating against it. Because the fighters in Gaza have defeated them militarily.”

BJP Kerala chief K Surendran said that central and state agencies should conduct an investigation into the rally in Malappuram. “Things have reached such a state in secular Kerala,” he said. “Hamas extremists are participating in programmes in Kerala. He [Mashal] virtually addressed the meeting only because he did not get a visa. The agenda of the organisers is very clear.”

Surendran accused the organisers of glorifying Hamas in the guise of advocating for Palestinian interests, and questioned the state police’s inaction in the matter.

However, Solidarity Youth Movement state chief Suhaib CT was quoted by The Indian Express as saying: “In the past also, Hamas leaders had addressed several solidarity conferences in Kerala through video conference. The Palestine cause is being kept alive also because of the unconditional support from the Islamic movements in Kerala.”