RSS worker killed in Kannur: Kerala BJP in a soup over unverified slanderous video, tweets
The BJP in Kerala, in haste and confusion, has landed itself in trouble by posting unverified and slanderous videos
A tweet and a retweet in connection with Choorakkad Biju, a 35-year-old RSS functionary who was brutally murdered on 12 May in Kannur, has landed two top BJP leaders in trouble, as Kerala Police has filed cases on charges of inciting enmity against them.
On the day of the brutal murder itself, BJP’s state president Kummanam Rajasekharan had posted an undated video on Twitter of a group of youth celebrating, with the title: "Brutality, beastiality at its worst – Kannur Communists celebrate murder of RSS Karyakartha Biju, whom they beheaded."
— KummanamRajasekharan (@Kummanam) May 13, 2017
The very next day, Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrasekhar, a major stakeholder in the newly-launched Republic TV and the owner of Asianet News, also landed in a soup.
Chandrasekhar, who is also the vice-chairman of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Kerala, reportedly retweeted a tweet which passed off an attack by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) workers on an ambulance in Kannur as an attack by Communists.
According to a senior police official in Kannur district, a complaint has been filed against the BJP state president, demanding action under Section 153 of the Indian Penal Code. "We have accepted the complaint. It is Kummanam who has to tell us where and when the 'celebration' was held. We will verify the video clip’s authenticity. If Kummanam’s post is correct, then there is no issue. But if it is wrong, he will be charged for inciting enmity and political tensions," a senior police official told Firstpost.
Even though Communist party leaders and the media have repeatedly urged Kummanam to prove the authenticity of the video he posted, he has taken a stand to only reveal the information to the police.
A state BJP leader supporting Kummanam told Firstpost that their president is confident about the authenticity of the video and that he will prove it. "Kummanam will prove the authenticity of the video in front of the police," MT Ramesh, BJP state general secretary, said.
V Muralidharan, BJP’s national executive committee member, said that the party stands with Kummanam. "We are with him. He will prove the (authenticity of the) video. He is our party president and his stand on this issue is the party’s stand too. There is no difference in that," Muralidharan said.
Student Federation of India’s (SFI) Kannur district president Muhammad Siraj had lodged a complaint against Kummanam with the police. In his complaint, Siraj alleged that Kummanam had attempted to defame the Communist Party of India (Marxist), instigate RSS workers and create tensions between the activists of both parties by spreading the 'fake' video.
Kummanam, reiterating that he released an authentic video of CPM workers celebrating Biju’s death, told media persons that he is willing to court arrest or go to jail if he is proven wrong.
Meanwhile, VK Sanoj, Kannur district secretary of Democratic Youth Front of India, who filed the complaint against Chandrasekhar demanding action under IPC 153 (A), said that he should be penalised. "We know that he has deleted the post. However, we have the screenshot of the post and have shared it with the police officials,” Sanoj told Firstpost.
The MP’s soup
Chandrasekhar reportedly retweeted a tweet by a user named Jayakrishnan (@savarkar5200) on 13 May, claiming that the ambulance carrying the body of Biju was attacked by "Marxists". Jayakrishnan's account has now disappeared from Twitter.
News reports from the day of the attack on the ambulance, however, prove that it was unleashed by RSS workers as part of a hartal (strike) that they had called in Kannur on Saturday. The attack on the ambulance took place in the lobby of the Pariyaram Medical College, soon after it arrived there with a patient from Thrikkarippoor.
CCTV visuals from the hospital lobby show a large group of RSS workers attacking the ambulance. As the visuals spread online, the original tweet by Jayakrishnan, as well as the retweet by Chandrasekhar disappeared from their timelines.
On Wednesday, after the complaint was filed, Chandrasekhar retweeted a tweet posted by his political media manager, that said: "Amused by Left Govt’s continued attempts to intimidate me. I am not & will not be cowed."
— Pradeep Joseph (@mpofficejoseph) May 17, 2017
Subash Chandran KR, an advocate in the Supreme Court, said that the Indian Information Technology law is soft on cyber-criminals. "Except cyber-terrorism and child pornography, all other cybercrime offences are bailable. In this case, also, the jail term will be small if convicted and the fine will also be low," Chandran said.
Biju’s murder is the eighth politically-motivated murder in Kannur since the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government's ascension to power in 2016. Biju was the 12th accused in the murder of Dhanaraj, a CPM worker at Payyannur. Dhanaraj was hacked to death by a group of people inside his house at Karanthat in front of his family.
The police investigating the murder of Biju have arrested two local Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) workers. The arrested have been identified as NP Raneesh, 28, and KV Jyothish, 26, both natives of Ramanthali village. The police said that while Raneesh was one of the assailants who had hacked Biju to death, Jyothish had passed on information about the victim.
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