THIRUVANANTHAPURAM (KERALA): The state government action withdrawing a hate speech case against VHP leader Praveen Togadia has sparked a controversy. The decision followed a representation by Hindu Aikyavedi state general secretary Kummanam Rajasekharan, a co-accused in the case.
Togadia made the controversial speech at Muthalakkulam in Kozhikode in 2003, a few months after the district witnessed the Marad communal clashes that claimed nine lives.
The Kasaba Police registered a case against Togadia and six others under the provisions of Section 153(A) dealing with ‘intention to cause disorder, promoting enmity between religious groups and incite people to violence’.
Kummanam Rajasekharan and Togadia were arraigned as second and fifth accused respectively. However, the police failed to file the chargesheet in the court within the stipulated time limit of three years. When it was finally filed in 2012, three of the accused (Kummanam, Togadia not included) pleaded before the court to discharge them as the time limit was over.The court granted the request but, the charges against the four other accused remained. In 2013, Kummanam Rajasekharan approached the govt to withdraw the case.
Following the instruction by the Chief Minister (who holds the power to withdraw prosecution cases), the Principal Secretary (Home) issued an order in favour of the accused. It is learnt that the then Kozhikode City police Commissioner G Sparjan Kumar dissented the move. However, the government submitted its request before the court.
The police laxity in filing the chargesheet in time has invited criticism from various quarters. It is alleged that the police acted in favour of the political higher-ups who preferred a slowdown.