BJP’s Sobha Surendran and Aneesh had failed to appear before a magistrate court multiple times for hearings in the anti-toll booth protest at the Palliakkara toll plaza.

Kerala BJP leader Sobha Surendran pronounced most wanted for ignoring court summons
news Politics Sunday, March 03, 2019 - 07:27

BJP State General Secretary Sobha Surendran is now in the ‘most wanted’ list of Kerala, thanks to a 2012 protest by the party that turned violent in Thrissur. On Friday, the Thrissur Additional District Court pronounced that Sobha, along with another BJP worker, Aneesh, from Puthukad, is henceforth branded ‘Most wanted’, seven years after the anti-toll booth protest at the Palliakkara toll plaza. 

In its order, the Additional District Magistrate stated that as the accused Sobha and Aneesh had failed to appear before the magistrate court multiple times for hearings in the case, it had decided to pronounce them as ‘most wanted’.

While 10 other BJP leaders, including BJP MP V Muraleedharan, have arrest warrants against them, Sobha Surendran and Aneesh failed to appear before the court and hence did not receive bail.

In February 2012, several opposition parties protested against the Oommen Chandy-led UDF government’s decision to begin toll collection on the Mannuthy-Edapally National Highway. When the protests turned violent, the police had to resort to lathi charge to disperse the crowd. Following this, Toll Virudha Samara Samiti organised a hartal to protest against the toll collection. Protests during this hartal led to violent clashes between police and those assembled.

The Pudukkad police arrested 27 persons in connection with the toll booth violence.

Not her first run-in with the court

In December 2018, Kerala High Court dismissed Sobha Surendran’s plea against police measures at Sabarimala. Calling the petition mischievous, the court also imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on her.

Sobha's petition alleged that the State government was ‘harassing’ pilgrims. It also demanded the state to produce a list of devotees who were arrested during the violent clashes in Sabarimala following the September 28 Supreme Court verdict allowing women entry into the temple.

Hearing her petition, the court observed that the PIL was filed with ‘mischievous intentions’ and for ‘cheap publicity’.