THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala has, once again, lived up to its reputation of being a trail blazer. The State has shown the way to defeat determined attempts to disturb communal harmony, a hallmark of the State.
The Left Democratic Front (LDF) Government lost no time in nipping in the bud the sinister designs of the communal forces to divide the State on religious lines. The Government’s quick action came in the wake of a murderous blast at an evangelical convention at Kalamassery in Ernakulam district. The blast left three persons dead and over 100 injured.
In a clear and strong message to trouble-makers and agents provocateur, the Kerala Police filed a first information report (FIR) under Section 153(wantonly giving provocation with an intent to cause riot) and 153-A(promoting enmity between groups on grounds of religion) of the Indian Penal code against Union Minister Rajiv Chandrasekhar. In controversial social media posts, the Union Minister had blamed a particular community for the blasts on Sunday. The Police also included Section 120(o)(causing nuisance and violation of public order through any means of communication) of the Kerala Police Act against him. The Minister accused the Kerala Chief Minister of following appeasement politics.
Coming down heavily on Chandrasekhar’s statement, Pinarayi Vijayan said the Minister was spewing communal venom when the State stood together to face the situation after the blast. The people of Kerala, the CM said, did not share the politics of Chandraseklhar The state stands unitedly against communalism, the Chief Minister said. In a strongly-worded statement the CM characterized the Union Minister as a highly venomous and foul-mouthed person.
In a heart-warming development, the Congress-led UDF supported the Government’s efforts to ensure communal amity and thwart the nefarious designs of forces of communalism. The all-party meeting convened in the aftermath of the blast saw the Congress fully backing the Government and making a few suggestions, especially to improve the functioning of the Intelligence department. The meeting called upon the people to unite in isolating attempts to destroy the social unity, cultural heritage and secular values of the State. All the parties assured the CM of their support to the Government’s initiative to maintain peace.
A resolution passed by the all-party meet urged the people to guard against getting caught up in baseless speculation and rumours. “Each one should realize the ill-intention in propagating rumours that are anti-national and anti-people”. The resolution further said the atmosphere of co-existence, brotherhood and peace in Kerala had attracted the attention of the whole world. “However, we know that there are people who cannot tolerate this unique characteristic and who want to destroy this structure altogether. We will ensure that Kerala survives such attempts.” The meeting also declares that any attempt to destroy the co-existence, interdependence and collective survival will be dealt with at any cost,” the resolution stressed.
Meanwhile, the CPI(M)_ state secretary M V Govindan has said in a statement that an attempt was on to divert public attention from Kerala’s solidarity with the Palestinians and demanded a thorough investigation. Significantly, Govindan’s statement attracted appreciation from an unexpected quarter. General Secretary of The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), a prominent ally of the Congress in the UDF, P M A Salam lent his support to Govindan. There was no equivalency between Chandrasekhar’s “incendiary statement” that “casts a particular community under an ominous suspicion” straightaway after the blast and Govindan’s observation.
In another development, Kerala Police has booked BJP national secretary and spokesperson Anil K Antony for sharing a post on social media platform in which he allegedly commented on an incident involving burqa-clad women. The case relates to a viral video of some students protesting against a bus for not halting at their college. Anil allegedly shared the post on X with the comment “No bus rides without a burqa in northern Kerala.”
In the meantime, the police launched a massive crackdown on social media users who spread communal hatred following the blasts at Kalamassery The police have registered cases against nearly 25 such users, including a few news portals. They have also identified a total of 89 accounts that posted extremely communal and polarizing comment.
A team from the National Security Guard (NSG) swept the blast site for forensic evidence with the assistance of the National Bomb Data Centre (NBDC). The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is also looking closely at the case and has reportedly interrogated the accused. It remains to be seen whether the NIA will formally take over the case.
In another development, Dominic Martin, who has claimed responsibility for the blast, told the police that he had tried his level best to prevent his family members from attending the Jehovah’s Witnesses convention held on Sunday. He has said that he did it because he felt that the Jehovah’s Witnesses is indulging in anti-national activities despite several warnings to stop these activities. The police said the accused has expressed remorse over his act that led to the death of three persons and left many injured.
At the end of the day, it can be said safely that the Government has once the perception battle. It took quick steps to defuse the tension and defeat attempts to create communal disharmony. The Chief Minister promptly initiated steps to counter the forces of destabilization by arresting even a Union Minister. The Government’s efforts to maintain communal harmony have won all-round appreciation and praise. (IPA Service)