Kerala boy

Thiruvananthapuram, May 24: A police case has been registered in Kerala after a boy was seen making hate slogans during a political rally last week. The development came after the Kerala High Court expressed concerns about children being used in political and religious rallies.

The incident is reported to have taken place at a march by the Popular Front of India (PFI) in coastal Alappuzha last week.

A video of the incident doing rounds on social media shows the boy sitting on the shoulders of a man as he makes hate slogans against people belonging to Hindu and Christian communities in Kerala.

“Aren’t they fostering a new generation that grows up with religious hatred in their minds? When this child grows up and becomes a major, his mind will already be conditioned to this kind of rhetoric. Something must be done,” Justice Gopinath had said while hearing the matter.

The national commission for protection of child rights had put pressure on the Kerala police to register an FIR, after which the one person has been taken into custody. The individual hails from Kottayam’s Erattupetta. It is suspected that he brought the child to the rally.

The police have also registered a case against PFI Alappuzha district president Nawas Vandanam and District Secretary Mujeeb in the matter.

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According to PFI officials, they had a set of official slogans during a march in Alappuzha. “This slogan was not among them. A lot of workers from various places attended the march. When volunteers noticed this slogan, they prevented raising that slogan,” PFI officials said.

Condemning the incident, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor tweeted,”The video of this event and media reports have shocked Kerala. Hate speech and intimidating slogans are deplorable irrespective of the politics behind them or the religion of those using them. Opposing communalism means opposing the communalism of all sides”.

BJP leader KJ Alphons, meanwhile, expressed concern over the growing radicalization in the southern state.

“The video is absolutely shocking. I am not really shocked as I have seen this kind of thing happening over the 10-15 years in Kerala. Kerala is becoming the biggest laboratory for ISIS. Look at the number of people who have gone to Syria and Iraq,” Alphons said.