Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Anil Antony booked for hate speech again

Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar; BJP national secretary Anil Antony. Photo Collage: Canva

Kochi: The Kerala police have registered one more case against Union Minister of State Rajeev Chandrasekhar for making statements that allegedly promote enmity between different groups in the wake of the recent blasts during a prayer meeting here.

Ernakulam Central police registered the second case against the BJP minister based on a complaint filed by Congress’ state digital media convenor P Sarin. An FIR has been registered against BJP national secretary and spokesperson Anil Antony also based on the complaint of the Congress leader.

The BJP leaders have been booked under IPC 153 and 153A and Section 120 (O) of the Kerala Police Act, a police officer told Onmanorama.

IPC 153 and 153A refer to wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause a riot and promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, and residence respectively.

Section 120 (O) of the KP Act refers to causing nuisance and violation of public order.

The first FIR was registered under the same section earlier in the week. Sarin lodged his complaint against the BJP leaders based on the social media posts they published over the bomb blast at a convention of Jehova’s Witnesses in Kalamassery and an unrelated event organised by an Islamist group in Malappuram district in which a Hamas leader allegedly addressed the audience virtually.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar made factually incorrect and politically motivated statements to promote communal hatred and disharmony among different religions in Kerala. Linking the incident to the Israeli-Palestine conflict and the Hamas group was done to target one particular community and promote enmity towards them in society. It may be construed as inciting violence and riots based on lies and drawing links between unrelated incidents and facts," Sarin said in his complaint.

He said Anil, his predecessor as the Congress digital media head, gave the Kalamassery incident a communal colour and came up with totally unfounded conspiracy theories to defame the peace-loving people of Kerala.

"Anil has been a repeat offender when it comes to making polarizing statements to incite violence. Last week, he posted fake news saying women must wear a burqa to travel in buses in Kerala," the complaint said.

Anil has also been booked in another case relating to the burqa comments. The FIR against Antony, which was lodged on October 27 by the Cyber Cell on its own, was initially against unknown persons in connection with a controversial post on X. Subsequently, Antony shared the post and commented on it, saying, "No bus rides without a burqa in northern Kerala". On Tuesday, his name was added to the FIR as an accused, police said. Both Chandrasekhar and the BJP had slammed the registration of cases.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.