Oommen Chandy accused of being communal for taking back case against Praveen Togadia
news Monday, January 05, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute| November 22, 2014| 1.00 pm IST Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has admitted that it was his decision to withdraw a 2003 hate speech case against VHP leader Praveen Togadia. Chandy's confirmation comes after news reports on the governmentâ€™s decision to withdraw the case against VHP leader Praveen Togadia had sparked a controversy in the State. The move to withdraw the case was based on a plea by Kummanam Rajasekharan, Hindu Aikyavedi state general secretary. The government decided to withdraw the case on June 5, 2013, though the then Kozhikode City police Commissioner Sparjan Kumar had opposed such a move. Chandy maintains that the decision was taken way back in 2003 and the controversy was an unwanted one. "This was a decision taken after I was consulted. It was decided in October 2003 to take back cases that were not of a serious or crucial nature. But we didn't have to inform court, as by then police itself decided not to proceed with the case," Chandy said. However, the Opposition leaders accused the government of having surrendered before right-wing communal forces. V.S. Achuthanandan told media that the decision portrays the communal policy of Oommen Chandy government. Kasaba Police had registered a case against Togadia for the provocative speech he had delivered at the Muthalakkulam Ground, Kozhikode in 2003, a few months after the district witnessed the Marad communal clashes that claimed nine lives. Mr. Togadia's speech attracted a case under Sections 153 (A) and 153 (B) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion) of IPC. Along with Togadia six others including Kummnam was also accused under these sections. But police did not submit the charge sheet in the court within the stipulated time limit. Sources say that the police at that time were confused whether a case could be registered against him when the State Government wanted to go ahead with the rehabilitation of displaced Muslim families at Marad. Later when the charge sheet was submitted in 2012 some of the accused approached the court to acquit them, as the time limit was over. Then the Marad Special Court in February 2013 had ordered that there must be no further proceedings in the matter as the First Information Report in the case was filed only in 2012. Following this, Kummanan requested government to withdraw the case against him and Togadia , citing the verdict.