KOZHIKODE: In view of the mounting tension in connection with the protests planned against Kathua incident, the police have imposed prohibitory orders within the city limits and also in some rural areas for a week.
A statement by City Police Commissioner S Kaliraj Mahesh Kumar said the orders were imposed for seven days with effect from 6 pm on Wednesday, following the recommendations by the District Special Branch in light of widespread protests and violence reported in the city during the undeclared hartal called by social media groups on April 16. Invoking Sections 78 (regulation to prevent violence) and 79 (regulation of public assemblies) of the Kerala Police Act, Kumar has banned processions, rallies, marches, public meeting, sloganeering, preparation and storage of destructive material, explosives, stones or other projectiles.
It also bans the distribution or dissemination of pictures, symbols, placards, printed matter, pamphlets, posters, books, audio/video recordings and digital records which may inflame communal or religious sentiments or offend general standards of public morality or seriously affect public peace or endanger the security of the nation.
The rural police have clamped prohibitory orders on Vatakara, Nadapuram and Thamarassery police station limits in the district for a week.
The police have been monitoring anonymous WhatsApp messages exhorting people to join the protest planned in connection with the Kathua gang rape.
One such WhatsApp message circulated by unidentified groups under the banner ‘Chalo Kozhikode’ urged people, irrespective of caste, creed, religion, political affiliation, to join the protest to be held in Kozhikode city on Thursday. Confirming it, Kozhikode Rural S P M K Pushkaran said: “We are monitoring the messages on social media which are mainly aimed at disrupting communal harmony. Necessary action will be initiated against those involved.”
Alerts issued over intelligence on communal tension
T’Puram: State Police Chief Loknath Behera has reportedly issued an alert for the next three days following intelligence inputs of communal riots being stirred up in parts of the state. The alerts were issued in the wake of prohibitory orders issued in north Kerala owing to the violence reported on Monday after a social media-sponsored hartal was observed in protest against the rape and murder case of an eight-year-old girl at Kathua, Jammu.
The police arrested more than 300 people and registered 95 cases in Malappuram. The cyber cell initiated a probe into the involvement of social media groups in spreading messages in favour of the hartal. Intelligence sources said outfits with extremist ideology had planned to use the hartal to trigger violent incidents and create communal polarisation.
SDPI rally postponed
In the wake of authorities imposing prohibitory orders, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) has postponed the huge protest rally it had planned against the ‘RSS-BJP-sponsored terror’, slated to be held on Thursday. The rally and public meeting will be held on April 30, SDPI state general secretary Ajmal Ismail told reporters. “Denying the right to protest is unfair in a democratic set up. The government has to explain to the people why its police show so much intolerance when protests are launched against the RSS,” he added