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Kerala oppn up in arms, demands ‘unruly’ Minister’s resignation




The Kerala Assembly on Thursday witnessed angry exchanges between the opposition and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who was trying his best to defend State Education Minister V. Sivankutty.

Sivankutty along with another present legislator — K.T. Jaleel, a former Minister, and four other former legislators will have to face trial after the Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the Kerala government’s plea to withdraw the cases against the CPI-M leaders for vandalism in the state Assembly in 2015.

On Thursday, senior Congress legislator P.T. Thomas sought leave for an adjournment motion demanding to discuss the resignation of Sivankutty in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“Never in the history of the Kerala Assembly has witnessed such vandalism as had happened on March 13th, 2015. Over Rs two lakh property inside the floor of the Assembly was destroyed and it was led by our present Education Minister Sivankutty. It would be good if you can air the visuals in the Victers Channel (this channel airs the online classes in the state) of Sivankutty going berserk with his ‘dhoti’ folded and jumping over the desks. Let the students of Kerala see who is Sivankutty. Can he ever be a role model to the students. I also shudder to think, if Sivankutty continues to be the Education Minister, foreign Universities might go to the extent of not accepting Kerala students. If you (Vijayan) don’t see that Sivankutty is ousted, you too will have to take the responsibility of shielding him,” said Thomas.

Vijayan, replying to the demand, ruled out the resignation of Sivankutty. He said he accepted the verdict of the apex court and also referred to similar acts of vandalism in various State Assemblies in the country.

“The government decided to take legal steps in withdrawing the case and there is nothing wrong in it, as we did it in the general public interest. This has happened before also. The Congress-led opposition has been trying to tinker with the privilege that each member has and such an action is unheard of,” said Vijayan.

“We also know of the manner in which the infamous palm oil case was withdrawn in the past and following the intervention of the court and the strong strictures passed by the apex court, the case still is going on. For the Congress opposition, it has now become a habit to stir up unnecessary things for political needs and this also needs to be seen in that way,” said Vijayan.

Before leading the entire opposition out of the House after the Speaker M.B. Rajesh refused to take up the motion, Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan slammed Vijayan.

“Public property has been destroyed and using public money, you (Vijayan) went to all the courts in the country trying to defend this grave vandalism act conducted by your leaders, but you lost that. There is no privilege for anyone who engages in criminal activities and this includes we, legislators also,” said Satheesan.

“How can this Education Minister Sivankutty be a role model to the students and teachers in our state. The whole world has seen the visuals and Kerala has been shamed and it has gone up after even the apex court ruled against what you are trying to defend,” said Satheesan.

Later the entire opposition decided to boycott the day’s proceedings and squatted in front of the Assembly shouting slogans demanding Sivankutty’s resignation.

Outside the Assembly, feeder organisations of both the Congress and the BJP took their position in front and were seen engaging in pushing and pulling the police officials who thwarted the attempt of the protesters to break the police cordon.

Sivankutty was not present in the Assembly as he is recuperating from fever at his house.

The vandalism took place on March 13, 2015 when erstwhile State Finance Minister K.M. Mani was presenting the state Budget for the new fiscal.

The then CPI-M-led opposition had taken a strong stand that Mani, who was accused of taking a bribe of Rs one crore from a bar owner for reopening closed bars, would not be allowed to present the Budget.

When Mani began his speech, the Left legislators went berserk, throwing out the Speaker’s chair from the dais and also damaging the electronic equipment on his table.

The list of the other accused includes former State Minister E.P. Jayaraja; K. Kunju Ahamed, C.K. Sadasivan and K. Ajith, who are no longer legislators, while K.T. Jaleel, the former Higher Education Minister is a legislator now.

Since 2020, the late K.M. Mani’s party- Kerala Congress (M), now led by his son Jose K. Mani moved out from the Congress-led UDF and is presently the third biggest ally of the Vijayan government and has been given a cabinet berth.

National News

PFI ban: Vijayan holds high-level meeting with police officials




 Hours after the Centre banned the Popular Front of India, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday met top state police officials to take stock of the situation and draw elaborate plans to ensure that everything is kept under control.

State police chief Anil Kant told Vijayan that everything is under control and the Superintendents of Police of all the 14 districts have been asked to be on high alert.

In a related development, the RSS office at Aluva in Ernakulam district was provided Central security.

Meanwhile, PFI state General Secretary A. Abdul Sathhar, in a press statement, said that the PFI has been wound up and asked its cadres to stop all political activities and organisation work.

News also came the Kerala Police, acting on the directions of the National Investigation Agency, took Sathar into custody and is now kept at the Kollam Police Club waiting for the NIA officials to arrive to take him away.

In an early morning joint operation last week, the NIA and the Enforcement Directorate took into custody several top level state and national leaders of the PFI from various parts of the state in two cases registered at Delhi and in the state.

Those who were named in the case registered in Delhi were immediately taken to Delhi and produced before a court there and those named in the case in the state before local courts here.

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Maharashtra ATS to enforce further crackdown on PFI after Centre’s ban




The agency has so far conducted raids in 12 districts in Maharashtra, arresting and detaining scores of people linked to the Islamist organisation
Following the central government’s imposition of a five-year ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI), the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) is planning to enforce a further crackdown on the organisation in the state, a senior officer said on Wednesday.“Relevant action has been initiated against the PFI in Maharashtra in accordance with the Centre’s ban this morning. We are getting details of their offices, members and bank accounts,” the officer said.

The agency has so far conducted raids in 12 districts in Maharashtra, arresting and detaining scores of people linked to the Islamist organisation. Sources said that more arrests are likely to happen in the days to come based on interrogations of the accused arrested so far.
The Union home ministry’s move banning the PFI and its affiliates under Section 3 of the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act will be referred to a tribunal for adjudication, whether or not there is sufficient cause to declare the organisation “unlawful association”, people familiar with the procedure said.

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National News

Why right-wing majoritarian outfits not banned, asks Owaisi




AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi on Wednesday said that the Centre’s ban on Popular Front of India (PFI) cannot be supported and asked the government why has it not banned right-wing majoritarian organisations.

The Hyderabad MP said while he has always opposed PFI’s approach and supported democratic approach, this ban on PFI cannot be supported.

The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president believes that a draconian ban of this kind is dangerous as it is a ban on any Muslim who wishes to speak his mind. “The way India’s electoral autarky is approaching fascism, every Muslim youth will now be arrested with a PFI pamphlet under India’s black law, UAPA,” tweeted Owaisi.

“How come PFI is banned but organisations associated with convicts of Khaja Ajmeri bomb blasts aren’t? Why has govt not banned right wing majoritarian organisations?,” he asked.

He said actions of some individuals who commit crime does not mean that the organisation itself must be banned. He pointed out that the Supreme Court has also held that mere association with an organisation is not enough to convict someone.

“Muslims have spent decades in prison before being acquitted by courts. I have opposed UAPA & will always oppose all actions under UAPA. It runs afoul the principle of liberty, which is part of basic structure of the constitution,” he wrote.

“We should remember that Congress amended UAPA to make it stringent & when BJP amended the law to make it even more draconian, Congress supported it This case will follow timeline of Kappan, where any activist or journalist is randomly arrested & takes 2 years to even get bail,” he added.

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