Kerala news anchor booked for allegedly communalising arrest of Muslim youth

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kollam police has registered a case against senior TV anchor Venu Balakrishnan of Mathrubhumi TV based on a complaint from Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) youth wing leader based on a prime time discussion that he anchored last month on the topic of police action against a Muslim when Venu diverted the issue by bringing in Muslim sentiments as the fasting period of Ramadan was going on.

According to a report published in the Indian Express, while discussing police atrocities, Venu made a reference to the alleged torture of a Muslim youth named Edadathal Usman, hailing from Aluva in Ernakulam. He then stated that, “Muslim brethren, you are observing the Ramadan fast even without swallowing saliva. The Chief Minister has disgraced you with such a stain. It is a state where a person, who has gone to break fast, was served with jail.’’

With the Vijayan government deciding to pursue the case strongly, the state police on Thursday consulted legal luminaries for expert advice and got the green signal to go forward.

Meanwhile, Kerala’s Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala on Thursday slammed Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for taking the same route as Prime Minister Narendra Modi to silence the media who criticise the government.

Chennithala’s statement came after it surfaced that the Vijayan government had given the green signal to register a case against senior TV anchor Venu Balakrishnan of Mathrubhumi TV.

Accusing Vijayan of trying to emulate Modi in taking steps to silence the media, the Congress leader hit out at the case being registered against Venu on the grounds of creating communal disharmony while doing his job as a news anchor.

“This is nothing but an act to gag the media and to take on all those who criticise the government. What’s most surprising is that police decided to act based on a complaint from a worker of the CPI-M’s youth wing. What Vijayan should understand is that this is Kerala and withdraw the case that has been registered,” said Chennithala.

Meanwhile, Venu, who is considered a leading media anchor who has always taken strong positions on various issues, notwithstanding who he is taking on, is also seeking expert legal advice.

Siasat Web Team