KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Friday directed the state government to produce the video footage of the incident that happened at Nilakkal when the Sabarimala temple was opened for the monthly poojas on October 17.
Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan issued the order while considering the bail plea of High Court lawyer Govindh Madhusoodhanan of Tripunithura, the 17th accused in the case registered by the police in connection with the protest against the entry of women at Nilakkal. The police arrested him for the offence under Section 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, being armed with a deadly weapon), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) and sections under the Prevention of Destruction of Public Properties Act (PDPP).
The police registered the case stating that on October 17 more than 1,000 people had unlawfully assembled in protest against the entry of women and resorted to rioting and assaulted police personnel. The protesters also destroyed KSRTC buses and, thereby, caused a loss of Rs 13,26,500 to the state exchequer. The petitioner was arrested on October 25.
When the case came up for hearing in the morning, the court directed the prosecution to produce the video footage of the incident and posted the hearing after lunch session. But the prosecution sought time to produce the video footage. It submitted that the entire incident was recorded and it was produced before the District Magistrate in a sealed cover. The court asked what prevented the police to produce it before the court.
The prosecution also submitted that the request had been made by the police to the print and visual media seeking to produce the video footage or photographs of the incident. The witnesses in the case identified the accused and there were statements in this regard. If bail is granted at this stage, the situation will get worse as the temple will be opened on November 16.
Counsel for the petitioner submitted that he was falsely implicated in the case and there was no material to prove the offence against him.
HC flays petitioners for misleading it
Kochi: The High Court on Friday observed that the court should not be dragged into the controversies and issues arising out of the untoward incidents that took place at Nilakkal and Pampa. The court made the observation while considering the petition filed by two Ayyappa devotees seeking a directive to the state government to take appropriate legal action against the police officers who arrested and detained Ayyappa devotees from Sabarimala Sannidhanam, Nilakkal, Pampa and other parts of Sabarimala.
The petitioner also sought a directive to refrain from creating an unruly atmosphere in the name of mob control at Sabarimala and adjacent areas during the Mandala-Makaravilakku season. When the case came up for hearing, counsel for the petitioner pointed out the death of a devotee and alleged that he was a victim of the police atrocity. The court then pointed out that their understanding was that it was a case of a motor accident. The court also flayed the petitioner for misleading it.
Sangh Parivar accused of spreading fake stories
T’Puram: The CPM has accused the Sangh Parivar of trying to create tension by spreading fake stories in connection with Sabarimala. Referring to the Sangh Parivar campaign regarding the death of Sivadasan, who had gone missing from Pandalam and later found dead, the CPM alleged that the Sangh Parivar has been coming up with Goebbelsian stories about the death.
“The Sangh Parivar has been unleashing false propaganda that Sivadasan died due to police lathi-charge and observed hartal in Pathanamthitta. BJP’s state leaders are behind this false campaign. The BJP had adopted the same strategy prior to the Gujarat riots. Now they want to replicate the same here in Kerala,” alleged CPM state secretariat in a statement. The CPM leadership also urged the people to be cautious about the Sangh Parivar’s moves to disrupt the religious harmony in the state.
3,701 arrests, 543 cases
T’Puram: The arrests in connection with Sabarimala violence have touched 3,701. So far 543 cases have been registered across the state for violence related to the entry of women to Sabarimala, state police chief Loknath Behera has said. A police source said those arrested were directly involved in violence and traffic disruption.
The police had earlier released two photo albums with pictures of people suspected to have involved in the attacks against journalists and the police at Pampa and Nilakkal. The police showed urgency in arresting the accused in the initial days but slowed down the crackdown after the High Court directed the police to take action only against those indulging in violence.