Despite CM's statement Kerala won't implement CAA, 518 cases charged against anti-CAA protesterstext_fields
Thiruvananthapuram: Even as chief minister Pinarayi keeps reiterating that if voted back to power the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government will not implement Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 518 cases were charged against those protested against the CAA in the state.
Those who were booked for offences include social, cultural activists and religious leaders. As per a recent cabinet decision, cases against anti-CAA protesters and those involved in protests around the Sabarimala women's entry issue were to be withdrawn. However, an exception was made for cases involving criminal offences.
Kerala was one of the states where the anti-CAA protests were held peacefully. Most of the people against whom cases have been charged belong to Muslim community and minority organisation leaders.
This includes even those who had made a purely peaceful act of closing shops to boycott public programmes conducted by the BJP to support the CAA. It had baffled most when it transpired that closing shops on one's own accord also would constitute offences attracting serious criminal provisions.
Allegations were then raised widely against Kerala police for being so subservient to sangh parivar interests through such acts. Human rights activists had raised this criticism against Kerala home ministry which thus was succumbing to the Hindutva propaganda. When SDPI(Social Democratic Party of India) and the WPI (Welfare Party of India) called for a hartal on 17 December 2019, cases were charged against 68 people that included a spectrum of socially vocal leaders including academicians, film and cultural leaders of various affiliations and minority outfits' leaders.
Writer Prof J Devika told Madhyamam that a case was charged against her in Kozhikode. She also indicated that the police contention was that prior permission was not obtained for the hartal in line with the High Court's order.
On the other hand, organisation leaders say that the police refused permission. It is a moot question whether similar action had been taken against scores of other organisations who had called for hartal at different times about the same period for different causes, both local and state-wide.
Victims of such police steps say that many of people so charged are receiving summons to appear before the court. In Manantavady, Wayanad, 22 people have obtained bail to avoid arrest. Seven people in Kasargod who could not secure bail were remanded during March.
Notwithstanding all this, during February 2020, the chief minister had claimed in the Assembly that no cases were filed against any one for having participated in anti-CAA protests.