Ramesh Chennithala has written a letter to Maneka Gandhi, saying that her statement has led to a “space for hate speeches abusing a district and all its people.”

Apologise for fake statement against Malappuram Ramesh Chennithala to Maneka Gandhi
news ELEPHANT DEATH Friday, June 05, 2020 - 11:33

Kerala Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala on Thursday wrote a letter to former Union Minister and BJP leader Maneka Gandhi asking her to apologise for her statement against Malappuram district.

On Wednesday, Maneka Gandhi, who is also an animal rights activist, had claimed in a statement to the media that the pregnant elephant in Kerala was “fed a pineapple filled with a bomb” and that Malappuram is the “most violent district” in the country.

Her statement came even as forest officials said that the elephant died after accidentally biting into a fruit that was stuffed with explosives, allegedly kept as bait for wild boars. Though the animal died on May 27 in Palakkad district, it was widely propagated that the incident happened in Malappuram district.

Calling Maneka Gandhi’s statement against Malappuram is unacceptable, Chennithala stated in the letter, “Your statement has given a space for the airing of hate speeches, abusing a district and all of its people. Social media is now full of hate speeches against a particular community. I request you to withdraw your statement portraying this district as a centre of crime and to apologize for making such a false statement.”

Hitting out at Maneka Gandhi, Chennithala also alleged that “crime rate in her district Sultanpur is much higher than that of Malappuram or any other district in Kerala.”

He also added that some BJP party members have even said the incident happened in Wayanad, to tarnish Rahul Gandhi since he is the MP of the constituency.

“These kinds of attempts to politicise such an unfortunate incident is itself tragic and will not find any support from the enlightened society of Kerala,” he said.

While adding that everyone in Kerala is deeply pained by the incident, Chennithala also stressed that the elephant could have accidentally eaten the fruit. “There is no doubt that these are illegal actions..but depicting this as someone feeding a pregnant elephant...ascribing it to one particular district and casting assertions upon a community, that too one week after the incident’s occurrence, cannot be seen as any love for animals,” Chennithala added.

In the letter, Chennithala also pointed out the silence of politicians and celebrities while over “160 migrant workers died while walking towards their home” during the lockdown.

Many people have spoken out against the hate speech being propagated against Malappuram district and a particular religious community. Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan also issued a statement condemning the communalisation of the elephant’s killing.

Read: Don’t import bigotry: Kerala CM on hate campaign around elephant death

Meanwhile, an advocate from the Supreme Court, a native of Kerala, has filed a complaint against Maneka Gandhi with the Malappuram Superintendent of Police for false claims. In the complaint, the advocate, Subash Chandran KR, has asked police to book the former Union Minister and the others who “unleashed hate speeches against the community, under sections of rioting, creating enmity between different groups of people.”

Read:

Death of pregnant elephant in Kerala: What our outrage says about how we view animals

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