Kerala blasts: HC orders police not to take coercive steps against Rajeev Chandrasekhar till 14 Dec

The cases were lodged against him over his controversial social media posts following the blasts in Kochi during a prayer meeting.

BySouth First Desk

Published Nov 29, 2023 | 6:57 PMUpdated Nov 29, 2023 | 7:07 PM

Kerala blasts: HC orders police not to take coercive steps against Rajeev Chandrasekhar till 14 Dec

The Kerala High Court on Wednesday, 29 November, directed the police not to take any coercive steps against Union Minister of State Rajeev Chandrasekhar till 14 December in the two criminal cases in which he is accused of making statements promoting enmity between different groups.

The cases were lodged against him over his controversial social media posts following the blasts at a convention centre in Kochi during a prayer meeting of the Christian religious group, Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Justice CS Dias admitted Chandrasekhar’s pleas for quashing the FIRs against him and issued a notice to the state seeking its stand in both matters.

The court also issued notice to Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) Digital Media Convenor P Sarin, on whose complaint one of the FIRs was lodged, and sought his stand on the matter.

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The post on Facebook

Right after news broke out about the blasts, Chandrasekhar posted on Facebook, “The price of appeasement politics of Cong and CPM will always be borne by innocents of all communities That is what history has taught us. Brazen appeasement politics shameless even by Cong / CPM / UPA/ INDI alliance standards to invite Terrorist Hamas to spread hate & call for Jihad’ in Kerala.”

His post further said, “This is the height of irresponsible madness politics. Enough! You can’t keep snakes in your backyard and expect them only to bite your neighbors. You know, eventually those snakes are going to turn on whoever has them in the backyard.”

Cases under IPC sections 153 and 153A and section 120 (o) of the Kerala Police Act were lodged against the central minister.

IPC 153 and 153A refer to wantonly provoking with intent to cause a riot and promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, and residence.

Section 120 (o) of the KP Act refers to causing nuisance and violation of public order. The high court listed the two cases for further hearing on 14 December and directed the police not to take any coercive measures against Chandrasekhar till then.

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The blasts

During the multiple blasts at the international convention centre in Kalamassery, six people were killed and over 50 people were injured, some seriously.

A few hours after the incident, a man — Dominic Martin — said to be an estranged member of Jehovah’s Witnesses, surrendered before the police in Thrissur district, claiming he carried out the multiple blasts. The police later recorded his arrest.

In addition to Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) (punishment for murder) and Section 3 of the Explosive Substances Act, relevant sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) have also been invoked against Martin.

Several cases were also registered following the blast against spreading hatred via social media in connection with the blast.

Related: Police book right-wing vlogger for allegedly spreading hatred 

The cases

On 8 November, the Kerala Police booked right-wing vlogger Lasitha Palakkal over an objectionable campaign allegedly made to connect People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chairman Abdul Nasar Mahdani with the blast.

On 4 November, Kerala police said that 54 cases were registered against several people for spreading communally instigative content through social media after the blasts.

The most number of cases — 26 cases — was registered in the Malappuram district, followed by 15 in Ernakulam, and five in Thiruvananthapuram.

Thrissur City and Kottayam reported two cases each, while Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Palakkad, and Kozhikode Rural have one case each.

The Kerala Police had registered two cases against Chandrasekhar for allegedly making statements that could promote enmity between different groups through social media posts concerning the blasts.

BJP national secretary and spokesperson Anil K Antony was also booked for his social media posts based on Sarin’s complaint.

(With PTI inputs)