Attack on Scribes – Fans of Rapist Minister gets 1 year jail term

published on January 5, 2012

Attack on scribes: 1-yr jail for 16 Muslim League men
Daily Pioneer – Malappuram

A court in Kerala’s Muslim-majority Malappuram district on Thursday sentenced 16 Muslim League activists to one-year imprisonment for attacking mediapersons at the Kozhikode international airport, Karippur seven years ago.

The Muslim League workers had attacked the mediamen on November 1, 2004 when they went to the airport to cover the arrival of top party leader PK Kunhalikutty, then Industries minister, in the context of the disclosures against him by a victim of the infamous ice cream parlour scandal, from the Gulf after performing Umrah. Kunhalikutty is Industries Minister presently also.

Earlier on Thursday, the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, Manjeri, Malappuram had found 21 of the total 23 accused in the case as guilty. The court issued non-bailable warrants against five of the accused, who had been absconding. It acquitted 18th and 20th accused as there were not sufficient evidences to prove the charges against them.

The 16 accused were found guilty on various counts like possession of arms, indulging in violence with arms, indecent behaviour towards women, destruction of public property, etc. Each of the 16 Muslim League workers was awarded imprisonment up to six years on various charges but the punishment would run concurrently for a year.

This was the first time in the history of Kerala that so many activists of a political party were being sentenced to imprisonment for attacking mediamen. The court agreed to the Prosecution’s contention that the offence committed by the Muslim League workers was unpardonable.

Twelve mediamen belonging to various news organizations had suffered injuries in the attack by the Muslim League workers. The court found the accused guilty of the crimes on the basis of the witness statements of the injured mediamen and the video-clippings of the violence that took place at the airport lawns.

UA Latheef, counsel for the accused, said they would appeal against the verdict. “The case became sensational due to the presence of mediamen. But nobody had identified the accused,” he said. The Muslim League leadership said they were not yet sure whether all the convicted persons belonged to their party.

The attack on the mediamen took place at 2.30 pm November 1, 2004 in the context of the open disclosure by Rejina, one of the victims of the infamous sex scandal, through television channels that Kunhalikutty had abused her sexually at three different places back in 1996 when she was a minor.

Kunhalikutty, the de-facto chief of the Muslim League and Industries minister in the then Congress-led UDF government headed by Oommen Chandy, who was Chief Minister presently also, was performing Umrah in Saudi Arabia when Rejina made the revelation. Rejina’s disclosure had enraged his followers in the party.

Thousands of Muslim league workers had assembled at the Karippur airport to receive Kunhalikutty on his return from Saudi Arabia. Violence broke out reportedly after some of the party workers spotted on the airport lawns the journalist who had helped Rejina make her statement against Kunhalikutty through the television.

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