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Cong hits out at Vijayan govt for nod to prosecute KPCC Chief


Press Trust of India Thiruvananthapuram
The CPI(M)-led LDF government has allowed state police chief Loknath Behera to launch prosecution against state Congress chief Mullapally Ramachandran for defamation, a move the opposition party termed as "undemocratic" and "dark chapter."

Irked by Ramachandran describing him as functioning "as a branch secretary of the ruling CPI(M)," Behera had approached the government seeking permission to prosecute him, which was granted on Friday.
The Congress lashed out at the government, saying the move was to gag the opposition parties.
Senior Congress leader and CWC member A K Antony said on Saturday that launching prosecution proceedings in the name of criticism was "totally objectionable."

If a case has to be registered for criticising police, then the first case should be against Chief Minister, most of his cabinet colleagues and CPI(M), DYFI and Students Federation of India leaders, he said in a statement.
While police was "protecting CPI(M)'s "injustice and violence", opposition's agitations were being "trampled," he said.
Whenever Congress governments had come to power in the erstwhile princely state of Travancore and later after the state's formation, Communist and CPI(M)leaders had verbally attacked police constantly, Antony claimed.
He alleged that under the Pinarayi Vijayan government, the police was working in "favour" of the LDF, no cases were being registered for the violence unleashed by CPI(M) workers while false cases were being registered against the opposition cadres and their agitations suppressed.
AICC secretary and former chief minister Oommen Chandy said the LDF government need not think that its decision to prosecute Ramachandran will silence the opposition.
"The biggest failure of the Vijayan government is that the law and order situation was in shambles. After this government came to power, there have been at least 30 political murders, several cases of custodial torture and deaths," he claimed.
Opposition leader in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala said the LDF government was following in the footsteps of the BJP government's "fascist rule and intolerance."

The decision was taken as the Pala bypoll was round the corner, he said, adding that this was a "dark chapter" in democracy.
Senior congress leader V M Sudheeran said the government's decision was "undemocratic", while AICC secretary K C Venugopal also criticised the move.
The DGP had stated that Ramachandran's comment, aired by some television channels, would create "grave misunderstanding" among the public besides adversely affecting the morale of the police force.
He had sought permission to prosecute the KPCC president for defamation under Section 199 (4) of the CrPC, 1973.
An official order said goverment allowed the DGP to launch prosecution proceedings against Ramachandran.

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First Published: Aug 31 2019 | 7:25 PM IST

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