Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Police on Monday registered a case against Hindu Ezhava leader Vellapally Natesan for a speech, just a few hours after Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said communal speeches, as those delivered by Natesan, have never been heard in the state till now
Police in Aluva registered the case against Natesan under section 153-A of the Indian Penal Code (that deals with charges of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), state Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala told reporters here on Monday evening.
Responding to the news of a case being registered against him, Natesan said he just revealed facts and did not mean to raise communal feelings.
"I will deal with this case politically and legally," Natesan said at a public meeting in Kottayam.
Earlier in the day, at a press conference here, Chandy said: "He (Natesan) is spitting communal venom and his statement that the government is extending gratis to a brave person Naushad, who died while saving two lives, is most unfortunate and painful and made without knowing facts."
Auto-rickshaw driver Naushad died in Kozhikode last week, when he bravely entered a manhole to rescue two migrant labourers who had got stuck there.
Natesan, who is on a state-wide yatra promoting a yet-to-be-announced political party of Hindus, said that if anyone has to get gratis from the Chandy government, then they should either be a Muslim or a Christian.
"I happened to read a news report on the tragic death of Naushad... and I decided to visit his house. When I was there, his friends, relatives and those gathered there requested me to help the family by giving a government job to Naushad's wife and also financial assistance," Chandy said.
"I said I will do the needful and this issue will come before the cabinet on Wednesday. I feel it's the responsibility of the society and the government to extend help and it would be done," he said.
"My government has always taken a humane approach to such incidents and has helped many people, as I think it's our responsibility and it's given looking at the need," the chief minister added.
The Congress and the CPI-M have demanded tough action against Natesan for trying to invoke communal passions through his speeches.
"State Congress president V.M. Sudheeran has written a letter seeking action against Natesan for his inflammatory speeches and that has been passed on to the home department. The law will take its course," said Chandy.
Natesan's rally will reach the state capital on December 5 when he is expected to announce formation of a new party.