The Kerala Police on Tuesday said that one person has been taken into custody after a purported video in which a boy could be heard shouting provocative slogans during a rally of the Popular Front of India in Alappuzha went viral.
The incident occurred on May 21 during a “Save the Republic” rally held by the party in the city. The video showed the boy sitting on a man’s shoulder and raising slogans against Hindus and Christians in Kerala.
The police said that a case has been filed against the Popular Front of India district president Nawas Vandanam, district secretary Mujeeb and other identifiable persons, according to ANI.
They have been charged under Sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups), 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class), 505 (1) (b) (act against the public tranquillity), 505 (1) (c) (intent to incite), 505 (2) (statements conducive to public mischief committed in a place of worship), 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code and 120 (o) of the Kerala Police Act.
“As of now, we have taken one person into custody,” an unidentified police official told PTI. “We are questioning him. Further action will follow.”
The Popular Front of India said that such slogans were against the policy of the outfit and that it would look into the matter.
“We have given approved slogans which were to be raised in the public rally at Alappuzha,” the party added, according to NDTV. “Thousands of party workers and others joined the rally protesting against the RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh]. The visual of a boy raising slogans came to our notice now. Those slogans were not approved or given by the organisers of the rally. It’s not the policy of the organisation to provoke or raise provocative slogans.”
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights also took notice of the incident.
In a letter to the Kerala police chief, the panel said that it has received a complaint about the incident along with allegations that the Social Democratic Party of India and the Popular Front of India are using children to spread hatred, enmity and communal violence in the country, according to The News Minute.
“Therefore, in view of the sensitivity of the matter, it is requested that your good officers may kindly look into the matter and initiate a necessary inquiry,” the body said.
On Monday, the Kerala High Court also expressed concern about the case.
“Aren’t they fostering a new generation that grows up with religious hatred in their minds?” Justice Gopinath asked, according to Live Law. “When this child grows up and becomes a major, his mind will already be conditioned to this kind of rhetoric. Something must be done.”