Uncertainty remains over the conduct of a cultural programme commemorating legendary Jamaican singer Bob Marley at Fort Kochi on Sunday as the police has prohibited the event citing 'law and order' issues.
Njattuvela Samskarika Pravarthaka Sangam that has been hosting the annual event at the Fort Kochi Beach since 2009 said the police have denied permission to use loudspeakers.
Programme convener, Rasheed Mattanchery, said in a Facebook post that they plan to go ahead with the event with 'necessary changes'.
The programme titled 'Bob Marley - Songs and Strife' is set to be inaugurated by award-winning filmmaker Suveeran.
Meanwhile, Assistant Commission of Police, Mattanchery, Ravindranath VG told Onmanorama that "no permission to use loudspeakers usually means no permission for the event".
The event is nationally "known for its cultural content" and has been attended by several personalities including poets Satchidanandan and Meena Kandasamy.
Slain journalist Gauri Lankesh and activist Varavara Rao, who is languishing in prison accused in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon violence case inaugurated the annual event in the past, said Rasheed Mattanchery.
"Socio-cultural activists from Kerala and beyond assemble to express themselves at the event. Despite applying by producing relevant documents and much more, permission to use loudspeakers was not given stating various reasons such as: "Youth are likely to gather", "We won't allow commemorating drug-user Bob Marley", and "a programme against Hindutva fascism will lead to law and order issues."
The police version
"The police reports were not in favour of hosting the event," ACP Raveendranath told Onmanorama.
"We understand that those with far-left political views are likely to be present and it can result in law and order issues. Hence the permission was denied," said the senior police officer.
If that was the case, how did they stage the event in the past? "I don't know how the event was permitted in the past," said Raveendranath.