As the liberals attempt to focus the debate on FoE on the arrest of a journalist in Uttar Pradesh, they conveniently forget that Kerala and Karnataka under the Left and Congress regimes have been the worst offenders of freedom of speech and expression
Sabarimala agitation against the tyranny of the Communist government against Hindu practices saw the entire society up in arms. While a large section of the media in Kerala remained subservient to the regime fearing violent reprisals, many journalists and social media activists took the risk to question the government and CM Pinarayi Vijayan. The result – over 150 persons, many from outside the state, have been foisted with police cases and harassed over their posts and reports.
Organiser has reported the case of two social media activists from Karnataka who were targeted by Kerala police for their posts. Suresh and Ravinarayan were harassed by the Kerala police for their tweets questioning the way Kerala police and certain IPS officers behaved during the Sabarimala agitation. They had alleged that Kerala police and government lackeys were on the prowl on social media and targeting anyone critical of the government and the police.
Most of the cases were over ‘objectionable posts’ against Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan. Kerala police have booked 119 persons for posting comments against Pinarayi Vijayan on social media. This information was revealed during a debate in the Kerala assembly last week. Cases have been filed against people critical of the CM as soon as he took over as the Kerala Chief Minister in May 2016. Among those booked, include 12 state government employees and one central government employee. A total of 41 state government employees, including the 12 against whom cases were registered, are facing disciplinary actions, including suspension from service.
Though swift action was taken against those who wrote against Kerala CM, no action was taken against the Communists sympathisers and liberals who posted extremely objectionable content on Sabarimala, Swamy Ayyappa and the Hindu traditionsIt has also been revealed that as many as 26 persons were arrested for objectionable remarks against Pinarayi Vijayan during the poorly handled Sabarimala agitation. However, though swift action was taken against those who wrote against the Kerala CM and police, absolutely no action was taken against Communists sympathisers and liberals who posted extremely objectionable content on Sabarimala, Swamy Ayyappa and Hindu traditions.
‘Colour of the flag’ decides FoE of journalists in Kerala!
The biased attitude of the liberal cabal is not new. Several years before the Sabarimala agitation a young Janam TV reporter. He had exposed the hypocrisy of the FoE activists, had revealed the way the media in Kerala took sides based on the journalists’ political affiliations.
In June 2016, Abhilash, a reporter for Janam TV, had posted on his Facebook page that while violence against journalists is shameful, media in Kerala chooses to highlight or downplay attacks on journalists based on the colour of the flag, meaning their political affiliations. He wrote this after an attack on a journalist of a Leftist newspaper over derogatory post had Kerala media and Left controlled Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) was up in arms. However, he questioned that when journalists and reporters working for non-Left media organisations are attacked, the same union and media does not bat an eyelid.
His claim is true as when Islamists attacked many media houses over the use of their Prophet’s name, the same KUWJ and journalists from the Left were silent and did not protest either online or on the ground. The biased reaction of the Lutyen’s cabal to attacks on journalists and FoE in various parts of the country seems to give credence to the fact that if not the ‘colour of the flag’, they base the intensity of their protest on the ‘colour of the religion’!
Karnataka is not far behind
When senior journalist Hemanth Kumar was arrested by the Karnataka government in the so-called ‘Fake Letter case’ in April this year, the liberals and the media crawled and accepted it without question. Hemanth Kumar is no small time professional but a seasoned journalist with decades of experience and a known face of the Bangalore Press Corps. Hemanth is out on bail but has been laid stringent conditions among which is the fact that he is not supposed to speak to the media about the case or the letter. He is also not supposed to write about it. So what about the freedom of speech and expression of Hemanth Kumar?
Apart from journalist Hemant Kumar, Karnataka government has been targeting prominent social media activists on one or the other pretext. Journalists and social media activists close to the Congress establishment have been caught spreading fake new and blatant lies about RSS, Narendra Modi and many were even exposed for being Hinduphobic. Nothing happened to any of them. However, those who raised the issue of murder of Hindu activists and Gau sevaks and questioned the government were targeted by the state police and harassed repeatedly.
FoE of Social Media Activists curtailed!
The latest tool to target such activists by the Congress government is using the alibi of spreading the purported letter written by Home Minister MB Patil to Sonia Gandhi on the Lingayat religious issue in 2017. MB Patil claims that the letter is fake but no investigation was launched into the origin of the letter for more than a year. However, recently, many media outlets, including major Kannada newspapers like Vijayavani had published the same letter which had caused a lot of discussions in public and on social media too. Many had posted the same letter and questioned the Siddaramaiah government and MB Patil for the misadventure which cost them dearly in the assembly elections last year.
However, the government and the Home Minister specifically chose to target those who have been critical of the government and seemingly pro-Modi in their posts. PostCard news founder Mahesh Vikram Hegde was arrested by the COB in the last week of April along with another women activist Shruthi Bellakki.
While PostCard had posted the same letter on its website and questioned the government, individual activist Shruthi Bellakki had posted her video questioning MB Patil, Siddaramaiah and accused them of joining forces to divide the Hindus. Her video had gone viral on social media sites and WhatsApp. Ironically, when the same letter was shared by many over the last year, the government never took any action or launched an investigation into the origin of the letter. But when the Lok Sabha polls were on, a jittery government went all out to target journalists and prominent social media activists without an FIR.
The government also targeted Sharada Diamond, another pro-Hindu voice on social media. She is a prominent pro-Hindu voice in Kannada on social media. An FIR was filed against her for posting MB Patil’s letter on her Facebook page. She had also posted a video supporting PostCard New’s Mahesh Hegde. It was clear that the government was targeting women activists as it expected them to wilt under pressure and issue an apology.
Another prominent social media activist who was arrested was Ajith Shetty Heranje. Ajith had shared an innocuous post about CM HD Kumaraswamy. Though the same post and images were being circulated for almost a decade, it was only during the recent election season that the post became a thorn for the CM. Ajith was arrested from his house without a warrant. Ajith’s posts in Kannada on social media have been pro-Modi and this was the reason to target him opine many social media users. It is evident as, but none of them was targeted. However, such targeted arrests of journalists and social media activists never ruffled the feathers of the liberals or the self-proclaimed freedom of expression activists.