Hate speech: Police arrest PC George hours after Kerala court cancels bail
Thiruvananthapuram/Kochi, May 25: Hours after a Magisterial court in Kerala cancelled the bail granted to senior politician P C George in a case accusing him of making a hate speech against Muslims in the State on April 29, he was arrested by the police on Wednesday evening. A team of police officers from Thiruvananthapuram formally arrested and took him into custody from the Ernakulam AR camp, a senior officer said.
He was shifted to the Ernakulam AR camp from the Palarivattom police station where he was summoned for questioning in connection with another hate speech case against him. Subsequently, he was taken to the State capital from the AR camp in a police convoy and is expected to arrive there late in the night. George, before entering the police vehicle bound for the State capital, told reporters that he would speak to them later after the court proceedings in relation to his arrest were over. Earlier in the day, the Magisterial court in Thiruvananthapuram allowed the plea moved by the police to cancel the relief granted to George on May 1.
Police, in its plea, had contended that the veteran politician violated the bail conditions and, therefore, the bail was liable to be cancelled. The court allowed the plea of the police, George's lawyer -- advocate Ajith Kumar -- confirmed. The lawyer also said the senior politician has been asked by police to appear before the Palarivattom police station in Ernakulam district of the State in connection with another case of hate speech. Subsequently, when he arrived at the police station, workers of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) protested there seeking his arrest, according to visuals shown on TV channels.
The PDP workers were removed from there and soon thereafter, a large number of BJP workers and State president of the party K Surendran, and its candidate in the Thrikkakara by-election A N Radhakrishnan, arrived at the police station. Surendran said the action taken against Geoge indicates the alleged double standards of the LDF government as it did not take such steps against others who had in the recent past made communally charged remarks in public. He said George would have the support of his party. After he was questioned for some time at the Palarivattom police station, TV visuals showed him exiting the station along with his son and other BJP leaders, including Surendran.
He was, thereafter, shifted to the Ernakulam AR camp where he is awaiting arrival of a police team from Thiruvananthapuram, a senior official said. George has been granted interim protection from arrest by the Kerala High Court in the case lodged at Palarivattom police station. On being asked whether he would appeal against the cancellation of his bail, advocate Ajith Kumar said his client would first obey the law and then would decide what to do next. The police had sought cancellation of his bail alleging that soon after he was granted the relief, George addressed the visual media in front of the Judicial Officer's Quarters, Vanchiyoor, and said he is still sticking to what he had stated in the speech and was justifying the same which amounts to repetition of the same crime and spread of communal hatred further.
The police had pointed out that the Magisterial court, while granting bail, had directed the accused not to make and propagate controversial statements which may hurt the religious sentiments of others while on bail. The police had arrested George on May 1 after registering a case against him under Indian Penal Code Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion) and 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) at Fort Police station for allegedly making a communal speech against Muslims while addressing 'Ananthapuri Hindu Maha Sammelanam'on April 29.
The 70-year-old former MLA had sparked off a controversy by asking non-Muslims in Kerala to avoid eating at restaurants run by the community. Subsequently, on May 10, another case was registered against him on charges of hate speech. Palarivattom police booked the former legislator over his objectionable remarks during a speech that he delivered in connection with a temple festival at Vennala in Ernakulam district on May 8. PTI