Facing criminal case, Kerala Hindu Ezhava leader softens stand

Kochi, Dec 1 (IANS) After a criminal case was registered against him for making a ‘hate speech’ over an auto driver who died trying to save two workers from a sewage canal, Hindu Ezhava leader Vellapally Natesan on Tuesday appeared to have softened his stand.

The act of auto driver Naushad would be a model for the youth of today, Natesan says in his Facebook post.

“My organisation and myself are glad that the government has acted in a befitting manner to come to the help of his family. I also said then that this should be the same in other incidents also. The TV channels twisted my speech,” Natesan said.

Referring to the government’s decision to give financial assistance to the family of Naushad who died while trying to save two workers from a sewage canal in Kozhikode last week, Natesan said the auto driver’s act was lauded because he was a Muslim.

Criticised by political parties, Natesan climbed down from that stand. Sensing the prevailing public mood in favour of the Muslim man’s sacrifice, the Bharatiya Janata Party too distanced itself from Natesan, its recent ally during the state’s civic polls.

Meanwhile, the Aluva police officials told the media that the case has been registered and the procedures are being followed.

The police will now record a statement of the complainant, state Congress president V.M. Sudheeran. Statements of a few media persons (as witnesses) who were at the venue where Natesan made the speech have already ben recorded.

Natesan, putting up a brave face, said on Tuesday that he would have no qualms if he is arrested.

His son Tushar Vellapally said that Natesan would not seek anticipatory bail.

It was late Monday night that Kerala Police registered a case against Natesan for his utterances during a speech here on Sunday before his supporters as part his state wide yatra.

Natesan said that if anyone died in the state, any sort of aid from the Chandy government would come only if one was a Muslim or a Christian.

He said this after Chandy visited the home of Naushad.

On Monday, Chandy went hammer and tongs at Natesan for his inflammatory statements and Sudheeran shot a letter to the chief minister asking him to see that Natesan was taken to task for his hate speech.

By late Monday evening, state Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala also swung into action and announced that a case has been registered against Natesan by the Aluva police, the appropriate authority for registering the case, as the speech was made at the place under their jurisdiction.

The case against Natesan was registered under Section 153-A of the Indian Penal Code that deals with charges of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion.

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