THIRUVANANTHAPURAM — Kerala Police Amendment ordinance, which had triggered severe criticism of the state’s ruling CPI(M) government and allegations that it was a move aimed at “muzzling media,” was put on hold by Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, it was announced on Monday.
The new amendment had come into effect from Sunday.
“With the announcement of the amendment, different views arose from different quarters. Concerns were expressed by those who supported Left Democratic Front (LDF) and those who stood for protection of democracy. In this situation, it’s not intended to amend the law,” news agency ANI quoted Vijayan as saying.
The new amendment empowers the police to slap criminal charges on people by interpreting any kind of communication through any medium as defamatory.
In the new 118 A amendment any violator, be it in any media, including print and TV, online news or social media, is liable for an imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with a fine of Rs 10,000, or with both, reports IANS.
As soon as this new Act was passed, protests came from far and wide. With the sole exception of CPI-M, every other body has condemned it.
It was on Saturday late night that the news first surfaced about the media gag, which left many surprised as this has come from the stables of the Vijayan government, who time and again bats for the freedom of the press and not to mention about his regular statements on what happened during the Emergency.
Since Saturday night, the Kerala media has been discussing only this topic, and hence Vijayan appears to have won the first round, as he has been able to ‘scuttle’ all sorts of discussion in cases like gold smuggling, Life Mission.
(With inputs from agencies)