Kerala’s police chief Loknath Behera has received permission from the state to take legal action against Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President Mullappally Ramachandran for an alleged defamatory remark.
According to reports, the DGP had reacted against a remark on him that a local television channel had attributed to Mullappally.
According to the channel, Mullappally had said that the DGP is working as if “he is CPI(M) branch secretary.”
Behera in his letter to the government had stated that Mullappally’s remark would create misunderstanding among the public as well as hurt morale within the police force. In his letter, Behera sought permission to file a defamation case against Mullappally, under section 199(4) of the CrPC, according to the Hindu.
Reading the letter, the government observed the comments made by Mullappally and stated it was highly defamatory for a “public servant of the rank of DGP and State Police Chief”. The order that approved the legal route against the KPCC president was issued on August 21 by the additional chief secretary.
Reacting to the news, leader of opposition and senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala blames the Pinarayi Vijayan-led CPI(M) government of alleged fascism and intolerance seen in the Modi government at the Centre. Chennithala claimed that Pinarayi was engaging in cheap political hounding right before the bye elections in the Pala assembly constituency.
Former Defence Minister, senior Congress leader and current Member of Parliament AK Antony said that seeking legal action against Mullapally for criticising the police force was thoroughly objectionable. He also added that if cases were going to be foisted against people for criticising the police, then the first people to be booked should be the CPI(M) ministers in the cabinet including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Senior congress leader KC Venugopal reacted by stating that Kerala politics will not see a bigger joke in 2019 than the Home Ministry allowing Behera to file a case against Mullapally Ramachandran for defamation. “That a government which is filled with members of the politburo and SFI (student wing of the CPI(M)) who free culprits who attack police stations and use the mic to threaten and abuse high court judges and police officers, is giving permission to Behera prosecute is sure to make literate Kerala laugh and think,” he stated.
Senior congress leader from Kerala VM Sudheeran lashed out at Loknath Behera, reacting to the incident.
“Behera has brought insult to the police force by not being able to function in a just, impartial and efficient manner which his position demands,” Sudheeran wrote.
Former Chief Minister and AICTE General Secretary Oommen Chandy reacted by asking if the DGP and the Chief Minister were attempting to curb freedom of expression in the state.
“If the intention is to prosecute and silence the Congress, that will not happen in Kerala. It is only those who are scared of criticism who try and clamp down on freedom of expression,” Oommen Chandy added.