The Kerala Police have registered a case against more than 100 Bharatiya Janata Party workers for allegedly shouting communal slogans during a rally to support the Citizenship Amendment Act in Kozhikode district, Onmanorama reported on Wednesday.
The incident took place on Monday in Kuttiadi town. The case was registered on Tuesday after a video was shared widely on social media.
“Don’t you remember Gujarat,” the workers asked, referring to the 2002 communal riots, in which more than 1,000 people were killed. “If you stand against national security, all your mosques will vanish from Indian soil,” were the other slogans raised by them. “Do you know who is saying this? This is Hedgewar’s army. This is RSS army.”
Kozhikode Rural Superintendent of Police KG Simon confirmed that provocative slogans were raised at the rally. However, Station House Officer Sunil Kumar had initially claimed that the police did not hear any objectionable slogans, and cited it as the reason for not registering a suo moto case.
The video of the incident also showed policemen walking next to the workers who shouted communal slogans. The police filed a case following a complaint from the Democratic Youth Federation of India, the youth wing of the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist).
The police had filed a suo-motu case against two people for allegedly forcing shops to shut down in Kuttiadi minutes before the pro-CAA rally. But since they did not follow the same procedure to register a case against the BJP workers, questions were raised.
“There is no double standard from the part of police,” CPM leader KT Kunhikannan said in response. “The police acted against those who are creating trouble, based on a complaint from DYFI and another by taking a suo moto case.” He added that the Kerala Police should not be compared to their counterparts from the rest of India.
Congress leader PM Suresh Babu also supported the police action. “Police might have taken suo moto case to avoid a tense situation,” he said.
BJP leader Kummanam Rajasekharan said that the police case was biased, NDTV reported. “Anti-CAA protesters say all kinds of things against the prime minister and other leaders, but no case is registered,” he alleged. “They have booked people from the pro-CAA rally because their voice and strength are growing.”
About the references to Gujarat riots, he said: “I have not heard the video, but taking the name of any state – taking the name of Gujarat – is not wrong. There has been violence in other states too, in Kerala too. Taking the name of a state is not wrong.”
However, BJP state General Secretary MT Ramesh distanced himself from the provocative slogans. “What happened in Kuttiadi was a one-off incident,” he said. “The slogans do not reflect our party’s policy. It was a huge rally and we could not control the slogans raised by a few.”
The Kerala government termed the incident as proof of what the BJP really stood for. “The BJP has started door-to-door campaigning, visiting houses to assure them that there is nothing against Muslims or other minorities in the Citizenship Amendment Act,” Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said in a Facebook post. “But the slogans they shout on the streets reveal their real face. They are threatening a repeat of Gujarat. This is their real intention.”