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“Kerala govt acting as any BJP ruled state,” say activists booked for anti-CAA protests

Protest Conducted by Welfare Party Kerala

Samar Ali, TwoCircles.net

Kerala: Activists and leaders of various political parties, religious and cultural organizations have been booked by Kozhikode town police in a case related to the protests against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) on December 17, 2019. Among those who have received the summons include prominent personalities and academicians like J. Devika and T.T Sreekumar, activists K.K Baburaj and N.P Chekutty,  Nasar Faizy Koodathayi (Samastha), Hameed Vaniyambalam (Welfare Party), Nahas Mala (Solidarity Youth Movement), Salih Kottappilly (SiO).

A total of 49 leaders and activists have been summoned.

The action by Kozhikode police takes place days after Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s assurance that the state will not implement CAA. Chief Minister Pinayari was reacting to the Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement that the CAA will be implemented all over once the Covid-19 vaccination process is over.

“This government will never implement such a disastrous law,” CM Pinayari had said during the inauguration of the upcoming Assembly Elections campaign.

Activists have pointed out the double standards of the government Kerala government, which earlier had ensured that no action will be taken against the anti-CAA protests.

“It’s a two-track strategy of Kerala government, which tells minorities that the government is supporting them and at the same time gives out a message to the Central BJP government that it’s taking enough action against the protesters,” N.P Chekutty said.

Summons recieved by Salih Kottapilly

Chekutty adds that he was summoned for ‘baseless charges of indulging in violence during the protest’, when he was not even present near Kozhikode city on the day of the protests.

“These charges have been filed based on signing a statement of solidarity for the protests,” he told TwoCircles.net.

K.K Baburaj told TwoCircles.net that the Kerala government is trying to eradicate the public role played by social activists and leaders.

“This government is acting like any other BJP governed states. It took them 8-9 months of planning and is now witch-hunting everyone who performs as allies to the minority groups,” Baburaj said.

Baburaj added that by framing these activists and leaders as ‘criminals’, the government is implicating anyone who comes forward in support of marginalized sections. Baburaj has not received the summons yet, even though his name is included. “This seems suspicious since the police is not telling us about the order and so we won’t appear for the hearing,” he said.

Following the charges and the summons, protests took place at various parts of the state against the government’s move. The Welfare Party of Kerala conducted state-wide demonstrations condemning the Kerala government’s action.

“The incident unveils the double-standard of Kerala CM,” said Hameed Vanyabalam, president of Welfare Party Kerala, who also has been summoned.

Students Islamic Organization (SIO) Kerala conducted a march at Kozhikode town questioning the police action.

“This is part of the systemic efforts made by the Kerala government to sideline minority protests. By suppressing these voices, the government is indicating its agreement with the law,” said Amjad Ali, president of SIO Kerala.

March conducted ny SiO Kerala at Kozhikode town

Over 500 cases have been registered in the past year, all against the anti-CAA protests by the Kerala government.

“The charge included in the summons is of abetment, which is baseless since holding a protest is not an offensive act. We are waiting for the charge sheet and will decide for further proceedings,” said Ameen Hassan, the advocate appearing for many activists in the case.

Other sections of charges mentioned in the summons include IPC 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 283 (Danger or obstruction in public way or line of navigation), and 149 (Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of an offence committed in prosecution of common object).