The Kerala government, on Wednesday, decided to withdraw all cases registered against protesters during the Sabarimala judgment and anti-CAA protests. This comes ahead of the 2021 Kerala Assembly election and has been welcomed by the Congress party.
In a cabinet meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, it was decided to withdraw "cases that were not of a serious criminal nature", the state government sources told PTI. Around 2,000 cases related to Sabarimala agitation were registered across various districts in the state during 2018-19.
The Nair Service Society (NSS), a prominent caste-based organisation in the state, which was at the forefront of the 'namajapa yathra' as part of Sabarimala agitation had earlier demanded the withdrawal of cases against the protesters.
Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said that the move was a "wisdom that dawned late." Congress in Kerala has been using the Sabarimala as a political issue. In its manifesto for the upcoming Assembly election, the Congress party has proposed to introduce a law in favour of Sabarimala devotees.
According to reports in 2018, more than 3,300 persons had been arrested in the state for preventing women from entering the Sabarimala temple post the Supreme Court verdict. Around 517 cases, too, have been registered across various districts of Kerala.
Despite the Pinarayi Vijayan government reiterating that no action would be taken against anti-CAA protesters in the state, the Kerala government booked 46 people on February 16, for participating in protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in February 2019. The Kozhikode Town Police station had issued a summons to several prominent activists who expressed their solidarity with the anti-CAA protests. The summons was based on a case registered at the Kozhikode Town Police station for the protest held on February 17, 2019.
Response to an RTI filed by an NGO had shown that 519 cases were registered against anti-CAA protesters in Kerala between January 1 and March 23, 2020.