The Kerala Police recently issued a notice to question Asianet News Associate Editor Vinu V. John, sparking debate and criticism in Asianet News. This action raises questions about the double standard of the CPM party, which advocates for freedom of expression but has remained silent on this particular issue.
Moreover, it reinforces the notion that India is an authoritarian regime at an international level. In this blog post, we’ll examine how these events unfolded and analyse their implications for freedom of expression in Kerala. We will also discuss Sitaram Yechury’s position on this matter as well as other incidents of violence reported during a trade union strike in March 2022.
1. Introducing Vinu V John and the Kerala Police’s Notice.
Vinu V. John is an Indian journalist and associate editor of Asianet News Network. On March 28, 2022, the Kerala Police issued a notice to question him for allegedly making critical remarks about CITU leader MP Elamareem Karim. This led to a stir in the media and a public debate about freedom of expression in India. The notice contained a few conditions, such as not to destroy evidence or influence witnesses, and stated that John should appear for questioning at the Thiruvananthapuram Cantonment Police Station at 11 a.m. the following day or else face arrest.
2. Examining CPM’s Double Standard.
The notice to question Vinu V. John raises questions about the double standard of the CPM party, which advocates for freedom of expression. The central leadership of the CPM reportedly refused to comment on the Kerala government’s action, despite having previously criticised a similar move by the Income Tax Department regarding the search on BBC News in India. This creates the impression that the CPM party is shielding its own by maintaining a double standard on freedom of expression.
3. How the Central Leadership of CPM Refused to Comment.
When asked to comment on the Kerala Police’s notice, CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury reportedly refused to respond. This position is concerning because it suggests an unwillingness by the central leadership of the party to take a stance in support of free speech and freedom of expression.
4. The Government’s Authoritarian Regime at an International Level.
The notice to question Vinu V John raises serious concerns about the Indian government’s record on freedom of expression and its authoritarian regime at an international level. This incident reinforces the notion that India is hostile towards independent journalists and media outlets, as evidenced by similar cases such as a BBC reporter being denied entry into the country or arrests in connection with a trade union strike in March 2022.
5. Incidents of Violence During Strike Called by Trade Unions.
In addition to the notice issued to Vinu V John, incidents of violence were reported during a trade union strike called by CPM-affiliated unions on March 25, 2022. The police allegedly fired tear gas and resorted to lathi-charge against protesting workers leading to several injuries. This further reinforces the notion that India is an authoritarian regime at an international level.
6. Police Case Against Vinu V John for Criticizing CITU Leader.
The police case against Vinu V John has raised serious concerns about freedom of expression in India. This action is indicative of the government’s intolerance and attempts to stifle criticism from independent journalists and media outlets. It also highlights how quickly an issue can be politicized when the ruling party is involved.
7. Instructions Given to Vinu V John by Police.
The notice issued to Vinu V John contained 10 conditions such as not to destroy any evidence, not to influence witnesses, and so on. This created an atmosphere of fear among journalists who are critical of the government, and raises questions about freedom of expression in India.
8. Sitaram Yechury’s Position on the Matter.
Despite the grave implications of the notice issued by the Kerala Police, CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury refused to comment on the matter. This refusal to take an official stance is concerning and reinforces the notion that freedom of expression in India is under threat. It also illustrates how quickly an issue can be politicized when a ruling party is involved.
9. National Attention to the Issue of Freedom of Expression in India.
The notice issued to Vinu V John has been widely condemned by Indian media outlets, and has attracted attention from human rights organizations around the world who are now turning their focus to India’s record on freedom of expression. The incident serves as an example of how the ruling party can use its power to stifle criticism and create fear among journalists. It is imperative that Indian society does not remain silent in the face of authoritarianism, and that the government be held accountable for its actions. India has the potential to be a beacon of liberty, but true liberation requires securing freedom for everyone’s voice.
9. Implications of Notice in Light of Freedom Of Expression.
The notice issued to Vinu V John has significant implications in light of Freedom of Expression. The Indian government seems to have shrugged off the cloak of democracy and is flexing its muscles with a strong message – if you dare speak out, be warned! This incident serves as a warning to journalists and independent media outlets that if they express dissenting opinions, they may be subjected to government scrutiny and intimidation. Moreover, it also serves as an example of how quickly an issue can become politicized in Kerala when the ruling party is involved.
10. Concluding Thoughts and Questions Moving Forward.
The notice issued to Vinu V John is a reminder of the fragility of freedom of expression in India. It raises serious questions about the government’s attitude towards dissenting opinions, and its willingness to restrict civil liberties when it deems it necessary.
Moving forward, it is important that journalists and independent media outlets continue to fight for their right to free speech, and that the government be held accountable for its actions. India’s citizens have the right to shout their opinion from every rooftop – and that is a freedom we must protect.