"99% Journalists work for the state, Dissenting 1% is underprivileged"- Arrested Dalit Protester and Journalists' Bail plea to be heard today
Abhilash and Ananthu was picked up while they were reporting the police atrocities. They are charged under sections of IPC 353, Kerala Police Act 117E.
Along with Dalit fighter of Dalit Land Rights Struggle Front Sasidharan Vadayambadi (Kerala Pulaya Maha Sabha leader), two journalists while reporting the police atrocity were arrested from the anti-caste wall protest site; Abhilash Padachery (Newsport) and Ananthu Rajagopal Asha (Deccan Chronicle). They were produced before the chief judicial magistrate, Piravam and sent to Kakkanad district jail. IPC 353, Kerala Police Act 117E are the sections charged upon them. Their case is likely to be heard today at Kolanchery Munsif court.
"Abhilash had been reporting the protest since its beginning. Abhilash reported it when Dalits broke the caste wall on Ambedkar Jayanti, 2017. On 21, he started to the protest site at around 7.30 when got informed that the police demolished protest pandal. Abhilash was going live from the protest site. I was watching the live streaming. I could see police asking him who are you, he told them that he is a journalist. Then police asked his ID card, All these I could watch on live. Then the live got cut. After that I could know nothing about him.
It was only after facebook posts came up telling that he got arrested, I came to know about this. Even when we tried to contact police regarding the arrest, they did not reveal us the details. They kept it very ambiguous. They didn't tell us what are the charges and all. We couldn't reach them. That is how they got remanded. When I called, police said Abhilash is an accused in Nitta Gelatin case. Abhilash had been doing journalism and political activism here freely, it has been a while." When asked about the police atrocity, Abhilash's fellow journalist Muhammad Mirash said. He also said that intelligence officials had been following Abhilash.
"This system very well knows how to torture those who stand against the powerful. They will try to reshape this dissenting person to be apt for the system. They will punish the innocent. And the culprit stays unpunished. Here in Vadayambadi, Savarnas are appropriating a poramboke land. They built a wall to separate the land from Dalits. The government allows it all. When they were arrested, SI had told them that you are just victims of this movement. They want to create victims.
Journalists doesn't have privileges. They are acquired with the ability to communicate with the people. That is an acquired ability. The privilege is in fact that of being able to be with the people and communicate, of linking them to a larger community. That privilege emerges from people. Regarding the arrest, most of the newspapers carried police version. Without checking facts. A very senior reporter called the temple ''NSS's temple"! They are not going deeper to the reality. They are doing superficial reporting. They are copying state's version. 99% of the journalists work for the state.They never check facts. This is atrocious and pathetic that police is doing this in a village, with such huge police force. Will this suppression happen in a city? No. This atrocity is called state.
There are numerous land struggles happening all over the country. Why these land struggles are not getting enough attention? They can give land off to Adani, for airports, for building flats etc. Political parties are all same on this regard. The system called Government doesn't change regarding changing political parties.
There is caste in the arrest and attack. They brutally attacked the KPMS leader Sasidharan. They just silenced him. They saw 'PRESS' written on my car and behaved a bit well of. But basically at Police station, at Court, everywhere they treated us like criminals. In the colonial gaze of law, all are criminals. Gradually, we all are becoming Dalits in this country. For those who dissent they impose non-bailable charges. Dissenting itself makes you anti-state. This case is being taken forward by the state with political direction." says Ananthu's father Rajagopal, who is also a journalist.