Journalist booked in Kerala for making remarks against Pinarayi Vijayan

Rejaz reports

Criticisms from various corners erupted after the state police filed a case against the Editor of Maruvakku Magazine, P. Ambika, for criticising the Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, on Facebook.

The First Information Report registered at Kozhikode Kasaba Police Station on February 13, 2024, was based on a complaint filed by Martin Mennachery against her Facebook post criticising Vijayan in the wake of extra judicial killing of a Maoist cadre.

The FIR states that Ambika P, working as the editor of Maruvakku, the magazine of the CPI (Maoist) organisation functioning in Kozhikode, wrote on her Facebook account on December 29, 2023, that the Chief Minister of Kerala is a cannibalist for killing a CPI (Maoist) cadre named Kavitha in a fake encounter.The FIR additionally accuses the journalist of writing the post with the intention to incite a riot.

According to a poster put up by the Maoists, Kavitha was killed after being severely injured in firing by Thunderbolt commandos, the Anti-Maoist Squad of the Kerala government, on November 13, 2023, in Kannur district.

Human rights activists said Kavitha was the 9th Maoist cadre to be killed in a fake encounter by Pinarayi Vijayan’s government.

Ambika was booked under Sections 153 of the Indian Penal Code (punishment for wantonly giving provocation with the intent to cause a riot) and 120 (o) (Punishment for causing nuisance through any means of communication) of the Kerala Police Act.

Responding to Arora Online, Ambika said, “The filing of a case is blatant injustice. We are planning to move legally against the fake FIR filed against me and against the accusation that the magazine is a publication of the CPI(Maoist). If our magazine is associated with a banned organisation, how did we get our magazine registered?.”

She further alleged that the complainant is a member of a right-wing association of journalists. Baburaj Bagavathy, an editorial board member, also asked the journalism fraternity to condemn the attempts to portray Maruvakku as a Maoist publication.

The editorial board of Chorus Magazine condemned the police action, saying, “The police have done grave injustice against Ambika, the editor of Maruvakku. We are with the Maruvakku team in its fight to reclaim editorial freedom, against the denial of their right to speak”.