Jayarajan spared of charges under aviation law for assaulting Youth Congress activists

EP Jayarajan
LDF Convener EP Jayarajan.

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Police filed a First Information Report (FIR) against Left Democratic Front convenor E P Jayarajan and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's personal staff for assaulting Youth Congress workers who protested against the CM on board an aircraft. The FIR has been filed without charges under sections of aviation laws.

Police had also booked the Youth Congress workers and K S Sabarinadhan, who had allegedly conspired, on similar charges.

On Wednesday a court in Thiruvananthapuram ordered the registering of a case against Jayarajan and two members of the chief minister's personal staff — Anil Kumar and Suneesh V M — over the incident. The Thiruvananthapuram First-Class Judicial Magistrate Leni Thomas ordered the Valiyathura police to file an FIR. They have been slapped with charges including attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy.

The court issued the order on a petition filed by Youth Congress activists and Kannur natives Furseen Majeed and R K Naveenkumar who are out on bail after being arrested for staging the protest against the chief minister on the flight. They have also been charged with attempt to murder. The two youths moved the court after the police refused to register a case based on their complaint.

Although the case has been charged against Jayarajan, CM’s gunman and personal assistant, police have decided not to interrogate the three named in the FIR immediately.

Jayarajan was handed down a three-week flight ban by the IndiGo Airlines over the incident.

From hijacking charges to flying ban await you after in-flight ruckus
Congress workers who protested against Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan inside an Indigo flight.

What the FIR states

The FIR states Jayarajan tried to strangulate Youth Congress worker Farzeen Majeed, let out a stream of invectives and shouted out to them that they ‘won’t leave alive after protesting against the CPM’.

When Youth Congress workers Farzeen and Naveen Kumar raised slogans saying ‘Youth Congress Zindabad, protest, protest’, Jayarajan came up to them asking ‘who are you to protest before the CM?’ and assaulted Naveen by hitting on his face with his fist.

Later, the CM’s PA and gunman pushed the Congress workers down to the floor and assaulted them, the FIR says.

K S Sabarinadhan. File photo: Manorama

Police question Sabarinadhan

Former Congress legislator and Youth Congress vice-president Sabarinadhan was interrogated on Thursday for an hour in the morning, and another hour in the evening. The police would seek the Court’s permission to seize Sabarinathan’s phone into custody for further investigation in the case.

Aviation laws

The incident happened on a Kannur-Thiruvananthapuram IndiGo flight last month after it landed at the airport in the Kerala capital. As reported earlier those who create turmoil inside the plane will have to face strict legal action as per the international aviation rules and regulations. Even charges like hijacking can be slapped on the accused. India's new anti-hijacking law, which came into force in 2017, prescribes capital punishment in the event of death of "any person" hostages, such as flight crew, passengers and security personnel. But if the incident happens after the landing of the flight in the airport and opening of the doors, only the rules prevalent in airports will be applicable.

As per the Part 3 Rule 23 (A) of The Aircraft Rules, 1937, no one travelling in the aircraft should resort to threats or physically cause hurt to any other passenger. But if such an offence is proved, the accused will be punished for one year rigorous imprisonment or a fine of Rs 5 lakh or with both as per the Schedule VI of the Act.

Another rule applicable in such cases is the Civil Aviation Requirement (2017). As per the provisions contained in it, those who cause hurt to anyone using words can be banned from undertaking air travel for a period of three months.

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