Amidst the row over a journalist's arrest in Uttar Pradesh over a social media post, Kerala government on Wednesday admitted that cases were slapped on 119 people for posting objectionable comments on social media against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the last three years.
The people against whom cases were registered include a central government and 12 state government employees, Vijayan told Kerala Assembly on Wednesday.
Chief Minster Vijayan, who also holds the home portfolio, said that disciplinary action has been taken against 41 government employees and department-level action was initiated against 29 people.
The figures were revealed by the Kerala chief minister himself in response to a starred question raised by United Democratic Front (UDF) leader MK Muneer in the state Assembly earlier this year. The issue came up for discussion in the house again on Tuesday in the aftermath of the ongoing controversy in Uttar Pradesh, where the state authorities cracked down on four journalists for posting objectionable comment about Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
The Opposition UDF sought a reply on the Kerala government's crackdown against crackdown on citizens who may have made comments or posts critical of the ruling dispensation, with Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala comparing Vijayan to Adityanath.
"Pinarayi Vijayan is walking in the footsteps of Yogi Adityanath... If someone opens their mouth against Pinarayi Vijayan, action is taken. But with all the hatred and slurs aimed at me, nothing is done despite complaints being given directly to the police," Chennithala was quoted as saying by NDTV.
Following this, Vijayan revealed that three people have also been booked for online abuse against Chennithala.
Vijayan's reply came a day after Supreme Court granted bail to journalist Prashant Kanojia, who was held for posting an objectionable video against Adityanath.
An FIR was registered against Kanojia on 7 June, in which it was alleged that he made "objectionable comments against the Uttar Pradesh chief minister and tried to malign his image."
Kanojia had shared a video on Twitter and Facebook where a woman is seen speaking to reporters of various media organisations outside the chief minister's office claiming that she had sent a marriage proposal to Adityanath.
The Supreme Court on 12 June, had ordered the immediate release on bail of the journalist. The apex court had said that the fundamental right to liberty is "sacrosanct" and "non-negotiable". The apex court had clarified, however, that granting bail to Kanojia cannot be construed as approval of the posts or tweets.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Jun 13, 2019 13:07:50 IST