Kochi blast: 53 cases registered across Kerala for spreading fake news

CM Pinarayi Vijayan said the Left government views the attempts to incite hatred in the state as a serious matter.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jan 29, 2024 | 7:17 PMUpdatedJan 29, 2024 | 7:21 PM

Screengrab from a video of the aftermath of the Kalamassery blasts in Kerala on 29 October, 2023.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday, 29 January, said that 53 cases have been registered across the state in connection with spreading fake narratives through social media to allegedly instigate communal sentiments in connection with the blasts at a gathering of the followers of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Kalamassery near Kochi in October last year.

Responding to a question by MLA M Naushad in the Assembly, Vijayan said the Left government views the attempts to incite hatred in the state as a serious matter.

The chief minister informed the Assembly that cases have been registered against BJP leader and Union Minister Rajeev Chandrashekhar, a few other BJP leaders, some online news portals, its editors, two Malayalam television channels and its reporters, among others.

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The cases

He said 69 social media links were removed as per various provisions of the IT Act.

Vijayan said the state police chief had issued directions to monitor social media to stop the spread of fake news and take appropriate actions.

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.

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BJP leaders booked

The Kerala Police had registered two cases against Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar for allegedly making statements that could promote enmity between different groups through social media posts concerning the blasts.

The Ernakulam Central Police registered a case against him over the same incident based on a complaint by KPCC digital media convenor P Sarin.

BJP national secretary and spokesperson Anil K Antony was also booked for his social media posts based on the complaint of the Congress leader.

(With PTI inputs)