The CPI's youth wing All India Youth Federation protested on Facebook this past weekend with a poster march. As of Monday evening, the ban was still in place.

Kerala CPI Leader and Former Minister Mullakkara Retnakaran Speaking, facing a mike PC/FB
news Social Media Monday, June 14, 2021 - 18:54

After CPI leader Mullakkara Retnakaran was banned from Facebook, the All India Youth Federation (AIYF), the youth wing of the Communist Party of India, resorted to a poster march on the social media platform this past weekend. On June 10, Mullakkara, a senior party leader and a former minister, said that he had been banned from posting from his verified Facebook page. Mullakkara also claimed that the only recent critical post on his Facebook was regarding the mismanagement of the COVID-19 crisis by the Union government.

"Facebook said that I have violated its community standard. If I had done that, it should have appeared on the page quality category of Facebook. But nothing of that sort has appeared on the page quality section of my page," Mullakkara told the Malayalam news portal, The Cue. The section currently states that he has no restrictions or violations, he said. Mullakkara, a leader hailing from the Kollam district, further said that even Facebook had no proper response as to why the ban was in place when he communicated with them through email. "They responded that the ban can't be lifted despite sending them several emails to them. They weren't able to explain what the violation was.” As of June 14 evening, the ban had yet to be lifted. 

On June 12 (Saturday), the AIYF shared a poster registering their protest of the ban, on its Facebook page. The other AIYF members, too, shared the poster from their respective accounts at the same scheduled time of 4.50 pm. Jagath Jeevan Lali, Kollam District Secretary of the AIYF, told TNM that the protest was organised as a poster march on Facebook as the ban was imposed by the social media giant. He alleged that such bans are imposed by Facebook on political leaders and cultural figures who speak against policies of the Union government. "If Facebook remains unrelenting, we will think of another mode of protest," he said.

Poet Kureepuzha Sreekumar, who inaugurated the poster march, also said that Facebook has not offered a clear response on why the page was banned.  "If a leader like Mullakkara was denied the platform to raise his voice, then what about ordinary people? I backed the protest from that realisation," Kureepuzha said. In May, the Facebook account of nationally-renowned Malayalam poet K Sachidanandan was restricted for 24 hours after he posted a video that criticised the BJP over its loss in the Kerala Assembly elections, held in April.

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