The father of an 11-year-old who raised provocative slogans at a PFI rally in Alappuzha was taken into custody on Saturday, days after the child and his family were said to be missing as the police registered a case.
The minor boy, who studies in Class 6, said he learnt the slogans during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Addressing the media, the child’s father said: “This was a slogan he learnt from the CAA-NRC protest. He has given this call at other places also. I don’t know why it’s a huge problem now.”
He added that the slogans were not against any other religion but only against the Sangh Parivar. “I don’t know what mistake he has done that a small child is being harassed like this. What he said was not against Hindus or Christians, it was against Sangh Parivar.”
The man said after the programme on Saturday, the family went on a tour and it was only after they left that they got to know about the controversy. He also insisted that he was not an active member of PFI but participated in the outfit’s major programmes.
The man said he was with his son when the slogans were raised and their entire family had gone for the march.
The family returned to their house in Palluruthy, Ernakulam district, on Saturday from where the father was taken into custody by the police.
The man said he returned on his advocate’s direction. The child, meanwhile, will be questioned by the police according to procedures in the Juvenile Justice Act.
In the purported video of the incident doing the rounds, the boy, perched on the shoulders of an adult, can be seen shouting provocative slogans as others repeat in chorus.
So far, 20 people — including Alappuzha PFI district president Navas — have been arrested by the police in the case where provocative slogans were raised in the PFI march in Alappuzha on May 21.
The Kerala High Court, too, orally observed “what is happening in this country” as it considered a writ petition which had sought a stay on marches and rallies by the Popular Front of India (PFI) and Bajrang Dal on May 21 in Alappuzha.
Justice PV Kunhikrishnan said if a member of a rally raises provocative slogans, the organisers should also be held responsible. “If a rally is conducted, it is the duty of the leaders to control the members of the rally,” the court observed.
The order read, “Whether the members of the rally raised the slogan with the knowledge of the leaders or whether there is any connivance between the leaders who organised the rally with the persons who raised provocative slogans is a matter to be investigated by the police. Prima facie, they are responsible. So they should be implicated as accused in the case and the police should investigate the matter.”