Kerala

Congress rallies behind Mullappally

KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran

KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran   | Photo Credit: K_RAGESH

Leaders accuse Pinarayi of using fascist methods to gag Opposition

The government permission for State Police Chief Loknath Behera to prosecute Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Mullappally Ramachandran for defamation triggered a storm of protest from Congress leaders on Saturday.

Congress Working Committee member A.K. Antony said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan should have been the first to face prosecution if criticism of the police was a culpable crime.

“The KPCC president had only highlighted the injustice in suppressing any agitation by the Opposition while CPI(M) leaders indulging in violence were allowed to go scot free,” Mr. Antony said. He said the police had become a tool in the hands of the CPI(M).

Political witchhunt

Terming the government move as a cheap political witchhunt ahead of the Pala assembly byelection, Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said it smacked of fascism and intolerance, the traits of the Modi government at the Centre.

He said it had exposed the hypocrisy of the CPI(M). “They talk of freedom of expression and democratic dissent but try to gag critics”.

Mr. Chennithala said the Congress would fight the action against Mr. Ramachandran legally and politically.

Former Chief Minister and AICC general secretary Oommen Chandy said both the Chief Minister and the State Police Chief were trying to gag the Opposition. “With 30 political murders, several lock-up deaths and assault on politicians even from the CPI, the LDF government has proved to be failure on the law and order front. We will continue to expose these failures, prosecution or not.”

Congress general secretary in-charge of organisation K.C. Venugopal said the public would not miss the irony in the government decision.

“The government is led by the CPI(M) which has a history of attacking a police station to release party workers and making derogatory remarks against police officers and High Court judges. This is the latest edition of the Modi style of functioning marked by the misuse of official machinery to browbeat the Opposition.”

Deputy leader of the Congress legislature party K.C. Joseph and former KPCC president V.M. Sudheeran also expressed strong protest over the move to prosecute the party president for speaking out against the police chief.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 8:05:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/congress-rallies-behind-mullappally/article29309915.ece

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