PC George. (File)
Thiruvananthapuram: Senior Kerala politician P C George was arrested by police on Sunday for his alleged controversial remarks against Muslims.
He was taken into custody early in the morning from his residence in Erattupetta in Kottayam district and taken by road, in his personal vehicle, to the Thiruvananthapuram AR Camp where his arrest was formally recorded for the offence of promoting enmity between different religious groups under section 153A of the IPC.
George was taken into custody by officers from the Thiruvananthapuram Fort police station on the directions of the state police chief Anil Kant. The FIR was lodged against him on Saturday.
The entire episode from the time he was taken into custody till his arrest being recorded saw a lot of drama ranging from BJP workers extending him their wishes and support at various places on the road to Thiruvananthapuram, DYFI activists waving black flags at him outside the AR camp and then Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs V Muraleedharan being denied permission to enter the AR camp.
Visuals aired by TV channels also showed a group of protesters, reportedly DYFI activists, throwing rotten eggs at the vehicle carrying George.
After he was denied permission to enter the AR camp, Muraleedharan, speaking to reporters there, questioned the haste behind the arrest of the 70-year old politician.
The minister said that such haste was not shown in connection with the killings of BJP workers and leaders in the state.
He said that George was neither a terrorist or a criminal, he was a well-known politician, a former MLA and therefore, why the haste in arresting him.
Muraleedharan further said that the action was being taken based on a complaint by the Muslim Youth League, the youth outfit of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), and alleged that the government in Kerala would arrest anyone in minutes if a complaint is made by the youth league.
George's son, Shaun George, who accompanied him to Thiruvananthapuram had told a news channel that the action taken was a "show off" which was not required as his father was a person who would have appeared before the Fort police station if he had been called to do so.
He further said that his father was not a person who could or would flee the state.
He also said that his father was the one who was obligated to explain the reasons behind his statements and added everything will be made clear in time.
Leader of Opposition in the state assembly and Congress MLA V D Satheesan, on the other hand, was of the view that the FIR could have been lodged much earlier instead of waiting for more than 24 hours after the alleged hate speech to take such an action.
The LoP also said that police took George to Thiruvananthapuram in his personal vehicle and allegedly made it possible for BJP supporters and workers to extend their wishes and support to him on the way.
According to Satheesan, what George said cannot be considered as his freedom of speech and expression to air his personal views as such a freedom cannot impinge on religious rights.
He said this in response to queries put to him regarding statements by BJP state president K Surendran and some other leaders of his party that the controversial statement was only the airing of personal views or beliefs by George.
He also alleged that sangh parivar was the one behind the incident and urged the state and the police to take action against them also.
He claimed that the sangh parivar was using George as a weapon to find a foothold in Kerala as it does not have a presence here.
Satheesan further said that those who justify George's statement are the one's pulling the strings.
He urged all major political parties in the state to isolate communal forces and blamed the ruling CPI(M) for allegedly fostering groups engaged in majority and minority communalism.
George, the former Kerala Congress politician had sparked off a controversy by asking non-Muslims in Kerala to avoid restaurants run by the community.
Addressing a programme organised as part of the ongoing Ananthapuri Hindu Maha Sammelan here on Friday, he had alleged that tea laced with drops causing impotence were sold in Muslim-run restaurants to turn people infertile in a bid to seize control of the country.
George, who represented the Poonjar constituency in the state Assembly for 33 years, had also urged non-Muslims to boycott businesses run by Muslims.