The police on Tuesday arrested a person after a purported video showing a boy raising ‘provocative’ slogans during a march organised by the Popular Front of India (PFI) in Alappuzha last week.
The arrested has been identified as Ansar Najeeb (30), a PFI activist from Erattupetta in Kottayam.
District Police Chief G. Jaidev said another four persons were summoned for questioning. He said the investigation was progressing and they were yet to identify the boy in the video.
Sources said those in police custody included PFI district president Navas Vandanam.
The video, which has gone viral, features a minor sitting on the shoulder of a man and chanting hate and incendiary slogans apparently against other religions. In the video, people around the child could also be heard repeating the slogans. The arrested was the one who carried the boy on his shoulders.
On Monday, the Alappuzha south police registered a case against those who brought the child for the rally and its organisers under Sections, including 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.
The PFI conducted the rally on the Alappuzha beach as part of its ‘Save the Republic’ campaign on May 21. Hours before the rally, workers of the Bajrang Dal took out a motorcycle ‘Shaurya ’ rally in Alappuzha town against terrorism.
The two rallies and sloganeering came five months after the murders of leaders of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had rocked the district.
The provocative sloganeering has invited widespread condemnation. Meanwhile, the PFI organised a march in Alappuzha town in protest against the police action against its members and leaders on Tuesday.