KOCHI: Social activist J Devika was in for a shock when she filed an application to renew her passport two months ago. She was told that there were eight police cases pending against her for participating in the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests in 2019-20. Interestingly, Devika had received summons in only three of the cases, and information of the other bookings was news to her.
“I was of the view that the government had quashed the cases, as the chief minister had assured us he would. I was charged with abetment of peaceful protests in all the cases. One case was filed in Kozhikode after my name appeared on a poster of a Muslim-Dalit outfit that called for a hartal against CAA. I told the organisers that I am against hartals as a mode of protest,” said Devika, adding that she only took part in peaceful protests.
According to official figures, 835 cases were registered in the state in connection with anti-CAA protests in 2020.Of this, 103 were criminal cases, while the remaining 732 were of a non-serious nature. Of the total, the state government has submitted pleas to close proceedings in just 63 cases.
This is contrary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s announcement in 2021, ahead of the assembly polls and following an uproar by civil society, that the government will quash all ‘non-serious’ cases. There are cases pending against several political and cultural leaders, and functionaries of various social-religious organisations for participating in the agitations against the CAA, which invited widespread protests.
The cases invited much flak from progressive outfits and political parties, as the LDF government had taken the lead to pass a unanimous resolution against the act and promised never to implement it in the state.
Devika told TNIE that she is planning to approach the High Court to have the cases against her dismissed. CPM, DYFI, Congress, IUML, several Muslim organisations, the Welfare Party, and PFI workers and activists of feeder organisations of these outfits were among those booked in the state. BJP and its feeder organisation activists were also booked for taking out pro-CAA rallies.Meanwhile, in a reply to the assembly on Tuesday, the CM said pleas for withdrawing cases against protesters will be considered by the courts concerned.
‘No cases have been quashed’
MSF state president P K Navaz said several IUML, Youth League, and MSF workers were booked in connection with protests, and none of those cases have been quashed. “The government even slapped charges against those who participated in protests,” he added.