PFI march: In police custody, minor boy's father justifies hate slogans

A minor boy courted controversy by raising provocative slogans during a recent march organised by the Popular Front of India. File photo

Kochi: The family of the minor boy, who had courted controversy by allegedly raising provocative slogans during a recent march organised by the Popular Front of India (PFI) in Kerala's Alappuzha district, returned to their home in Kochi on Saturday.

The father of the minor boy was taken into custody by the police from his house in Palluruthy.

The family, including the boy, was reportedly away from the house ever since a purported video, in which the child could be seen sitting on the shoulder of a person and raising offensive slogans during the "Save the Republic" rally held by the PFI on May 21, went viral on social media platforms prompting police to register a case.

PFI workers had gathered around the house while the boy's father was being taken into custody and sent to Alappuzha for detailed interrogation. Further procedures would be decided later, police said.

However, justifying his son's action, the man said the controversial slogan was not taught by anyone but the boy had learnt it while attending similar programmes before.

He said it was not for the first time that his son was raising such a slogan in a programme and many such instances of him raising similar slogans could be seen on YouTube.

"We used to take part in the PFI's programmes. He had learnt the slogan when he attended a protest programme against the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). I don't understand why it has become a controversy now. What offence did he commit to harass a little boy like this?" he told media before being taken into custody.

So far, 20 persons have been arrested and remanded in the case and more people were being taken into custody for questioning from various places, he said.

According to police sources, the boy would be sent for counselling at a government centre soon.

Meanwhile, PFI activists staged a protest in Palluruthy against the police custody of the boy's father.

Erattuepetta resident Anas, who carried the minor boy on his shoulders, was the first person to be arrested in the case.

In the FIR filed based on a complaint by Vijayakumar P K, police invoked various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Kerala Police Act and arraigned PFI Alappuzha district secretary Mujeeb and Navas as accused along with other identifiable people.

Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class), 505(1)(b) (act against the public tranquility), 505(1)(c), 505(2) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC and Section 120(o) of KP Act are included in the FIR.

(with inputs from PTI)

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