Kerala Police block BJP’s anti-Islamist march

via VR Jayaraj | Malappuram - Daily Pioneer published on August 26, 2010

The Kerala Police on Thursday blocked a BJP protest march towards Green Valley, said to be training facility of Islamist outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) in Manjeri in the Muslim-majority Malappuram district on Thursday even as the NIA said it had no plans to take over the case of the July 4 attack on a professor in Muvattupuzha.

The police blocked the march of the BJP demanding stern action against terror outfits and a ban on them immediately after it began. The Popular Front is presently facing investigations in connection with the Taliban-model attack on Prof TJ Joseph for preparing a question paper which allegedly blasphemed Prophet Muhammad. All the accused in the case are PFI leaders and activists.

The march, which was scheduled originally to begin at Kacherippadi in Manjeri, had started from the gates of the District Hospital, some two kilometers away from the Green Valley Popular Front base. The police, present in large numbers, blocked the march immediately after it began. The authorities had on Wednesday issued a ban order against the BJP march saying it could lead to communal tension.

The march was inaugurated by State BJP president V Muraleedharan and general secretary K Surendran, State Mahila Morcha president Sobha Surendran and other leaders participated. The police registered cases against the BJP leaders for violating the ban order imposed the other day but the BJP protested the police move when the LDF Government was calling for united fight against extremism.

Inaugurating the march, Muraleedharan said the protest was organized due to the party’s conviction that terror training was going on in Green Valley. He alleged that the Government had taken no action against the Popular Front even after the Central Intelligence Bureau had reported that 14 such centres had been operating in Kerala.

Some tension was caused when a demonstration of the Popular Front reached the venue from where the BJP was to start its march. The police dispersed the PFI demonstrators also. The determination of the police to block the BJP march was obvious even before it began as they removed the people who had gathered in the area.

Meanwhile, the NIA informed the Kerala High Court on Thursday that it did not intend to take over the investigation into the attack on TJ Joseph, in which suspected PFI activists cut off his right hand. The agency told the court, which was considering a public interest litigation seeking an NIA probe into the incident, said the case did not come under its purview.

The agency told the court that it had been constituted to investigate cases of extremism and anti-national activities but no such charges had been leveled in the case of the attack on the professor. Only criminal charges had been imposed in this case and therefore the NIA could not investigate it, the agency said. However, it would take over the case if the Government issued a special order, it said.

In the meantime, Kerala Police officials investigating the case of attack on the professor questioned P Usman, managing director of Thejas newspaper, organ of the Popular Front. He was questioned in the context of the police’s finding that some of the mobile phones registered in the name of the newspaper had been used by those connected with the attack on the professor.

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