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Court cancels George’s anticipatory bail in hate speech case- Mrit News

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A magistrate court here on Wednesday revoked the anticipatory bail granted to Kerala Janapaksham (Secular) leader and former legislator P.C. George in a communally provocative hate speech case registered at Fort police station here in early May.

The Judicial First Class Magistrate-II, Thiruvananthapuram, who rescinded the earlier order, said the police were free to arrest Mr. George. A police team is reportedly in Kochi to secure Mr. George’s custody. The Kochi police had recorded Mr. George’s arrest in a similar case.

The Fort police had booked Mr. George for allegedly inciting hate against a particular minority community at the Anandapuri Hindu Sammelan. The police case was that he had attempted to stoke communal discord by flagging divisive dog-whistle issues.

The police alleged that Mr. George had portrayed inter-faith unions as “love jihad”. They also accused the politician of underscoring an “unfounded” fundamentalist conspiracy to increase the numbers of a particular minority community to disempower others.

Mr. George’s controversial comments had triggered a political storm. Initially, the Opposition joined the government in condemning Mr. George’s remarks and called for his arrest. However, it pivoted against the government after the court immediately released Mr. George on anticipatory bail.

The Congress later accused the State of willfully not opposing Mr. George’s plea in court with an eye on fringe “fundamentalist votes” in the Thrikkakara Assembly constituency. It indicted the government for kowtowing to “extremist” interests despite the “severe and seditious” nature of the charge against Mr. George.

In contrast, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had thrown its weight behind Mr. George. BJP State president K. Surendran accused the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] of hounding Mr. George to appease “extremists” for political gain in the Thrikkakara Assembly byelection on May 31.

Seemingly stung by Opposition criticism, the government moved a petition in court claiming that the magistrate had accorded bail to Mr. George without hearing the prosecution.

It argued that the court had not accorded the prosecuting officer chance to make his submission. The prosecution alleged that Mr. George had repeated the offence at subsequent public meetings and media interactions.

The prosecution presented video recordings of Mr. George’s alleged infringement of the bail condition set by the court to justify its plea.


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