Kochi (Kerala) [India]: Kerala High Court has directed the Popular Front of India (PFI), general secretary Abdul Sattar, to deposit an amount of Rs 5.20 crores to the state Home Department for the damages incurred during its hartal on September 23.
Court has directed to deposit this amount within a period of two weeks.
The amount was estimated by the State and the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) as arising from the destruction/damage caused to public property following the hartal called by the outfit, which now stands banned by the government of India, against the pan-India raids by the National Investigation Agency on September 22, in which over 106 of PFI’s members were arrested.
The court issued a stern warning that the state government shall take “immediate steps to proceed against the assets/properties of PFI” as well as the personal assets of its office bearers including the Secretary if the general secretary fails to deposit the amount.
“The action of the PFI inciting their supporters and goading them into the violent acts that were witnessed across the State on September 23 cannot be legally countenanced. Flash hartal in the state is not going to happen irrespective of a political group, parties any others. Life of citizens cannot be put in peril. The message is loud and clear. If anybody does it, this will be the consequence. You can have your demonstration peacefully against any cause. The Constitution permits it. But no flash hartal,” observed the court.
Court also directed the state government to make PFI General Secretary Abdul Sattar an additional accused in all cases registered across the state following PFI hartal.
Following this, Court said, “Let him go every court and obtain bail. We will also issue directions to all the Sessions and Magistrate courts wherever the bail application of the PFI workers comes out, to insist on a deposit of an amount equivalent to the loss incurred for damaging the property as a bail condition.”
The observations of the court came during the hearing of a suo motu case against PFI leaders who called for a hartal in the state against the arrest of its members by the NIA. The matter was considered by the Division Bench consisting of Justice AK Jayasankaran Nambiar and Justice Mohammed Nias CP.
Following the hartal (strike), incidents of stone pelting and attacks on vehicles including KSRTC buses by protesters were reported from various places in the state.
The PFI was banned by the Centre late Tuesday night.
Abdul Sattar, who had been allegedly absconding but was arrested soon after the radical outfit was banned in India, has been handed over to the NIA, a senior police official said Thursday.
Sattar, the Kerala state general secretary of the Popular Front of India, was arrested from his office in Kollam district Wednesday. His arrest came hours after the government announced a ban on PFI for allegedly having terror links.
Sattar had called for a state-wide hartal on September 23 against raids on the outfit and arrests of its leaders. During the hartal, there were reports of violence from Kerala. (ANI)