On Tuesday, Kerala Police filed suo moto cases against two persons for forcing to shut shops in Kuttiadi town in Kozhikode district a few minutes before the Bharatiya Janata Party's pro-Citizenship (Amendment) Act rally. The two have been charged with rioting (Section 147 of the Indian Penal Code) and promoting enmity between different groups (Section 153 of the IPC).
"We saw the two people forcibly shutting shops. Hence we initiated suo moto action against them," Kuttiadi Station House Officer (SHO) N Sunil Kumar said.
However, the police did not follow the same procedure - of registering suo moto cases - against Sangh Parivar workers who raised threatening slogans against Muslims during the rally on Monday.
A video of the rally showed Sangh Parivar workers reminding Muslims about the 2002 Gujarat pogrom and threatening to wipe out all mosques if they stood against 'national security'.
Kozhikode Rural Police chief K G Simon told Onmanorama that the provocative slogans were raised at the BJP rally.
'Don't you remember Gujarat?" the Sangh workers shouted, referring to the riots in which thousands of Muslims had been killed.
"If you stand against national security, all your mosques will vanish from Indian soil. Do you know who is saying this? This is Hedgewar's army. This is RSS' army,” were some other highly vitriolic slogans during the march.
But SHO Sunil Kumar said police did not hear any objectionable slogans and that is the reason for not registering a suo moto case. "We did not hear slogans threatening Muslims as we were not escorting the rally," he said.
But the video contradicted Sunil Kumar's claims. It showed policemen walking next to those who raised objectionable slogans.
The police finally registered a case against more than 100 Sangh Parivar workers on Tuesday following a complaint from Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the youth wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). They have been charged with rioting and promoting enmity between different groups.
CPM leader KT Kunhikkannan said he does not find any fault with the police. “There is no double standard from the part of police. The police acted against those who are creating trouble, based on a complaint from DYFI and another by taking a suo moto case," he said. "Kerala Police should not be compared with their counterparts elsewhere in India," he said.
Congress leader P M Suresh Babu too supported the police action. "He said police might have taken suo moto case to avoid a tense situation," he said.
BJP leader distances from provocative slogans
BJP state general secretary M T Ramesh, meanwhile, distanced himself from the provocative slogans raised during the pro-CAA rally.
Ramesh was one of the speakers at the public meeting, held after the rally in Kuttiadi.
"What happened in Kuttiadi was a one-off incident. The slogans do not reflect our party's policy. It was a huge rally and we could not control the slogans raised by a few," he said.
Condemning the Sangh act
Reacting to the Sangh Parivar slogans, Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac said no one has forgotten Gujarat pogrom. "No one will ever forget it. We will continue to remind people about the pogrom. It is the major weapon to fight BJP's communal agenda," he wrote on Facebook on Wednesday.
"On one hand, BJP workers are visiting Muslim houses to reassure them about CAA, while on the other hand they threaten Muslims about the Gujarat pogrom. The Islamophobia in their blood is tumbling out," he wrote.
Noted Malayalam writer Shihabuddin Poithumkadavu wrote on Facebook that BJP explained CAA in a few words with its slogan 'don't you remember Gujarat?'