The sensational Akhila/Hadiya case, which triggered debates on forcible religious conversions across the nation, saw bigotry at its peak. It were not just Akhila, who converted to Islam following her marriage to Shafin Jehan, her father K M Ashokan or Jehan who fell victims to intolerance.
Even the government pleader was threatened and abused on social media for appearing before the High Court after the latter nullified Akhila's marriage. Muslim outfits and pro-Hindu organisations spewed venom alike prompting the lawyer to seek cops' help. Fearing attacks, police protection was also provided to the two judges who passed the order nullifying the marriage.
In April, Mahija, the mother of engineering student Jishnu Pranoy who committed suicide inside his hostel room, was dragged by cops while she was protesting for her son. The entire incident put a question mark over the government's handling of protests and exposed the intolerant side of the police. A barrage of attacks was unleashed against the government.
CM Pinarayi's defence the police action was justified and some leaders' attempts to give the grieving mother's protest a political colour also exposed the government's intolerance. On the flip side, alleged 'pro-Jishnu' protesters vandalised his college in Thrissur in their supposed fight for 'justice'.
Support with care
Actor Dileep's arrest in the actor assault case polarised Kerala. Verbal duels ensued between his critics and supporters. Former MP Sebastian Paul was also caught in the crossfire for his piece favouring Dileep. In an article in the portal 'South Live', of which he is the editor, Sebastian criticised the judiciary for not granting bail to Dileep, saying while “criminal law and Constitution warn us not to trust the police version” (based on which Dileep's bail pleas were objected), “magistrates and judges, unfortunately, are not taking the warning into consideration.” The backlash was instant. Some journalists even left the organisation alleging Sebastian's autocratic functioning style.
Who's to blame?
Seething post the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes by the BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre, critics had a field day when a BJP Yuva Morcha leader in the state, Rakesh Erachery, was arrested for running a counterfeit currency racket in Thrissur. The Centre's fight against 'black money' and 'fake currency' was ridiculed by many in the backdrop of the leader's arrest . On a side note, raids seized fake currency with a face value of Rs 1.37 lakh from the BJP Yuva Morcha leader's house.