‘Cong. decision to surrender and fight case in court’
Four more Congress and Youth Congress activists accused of vandalising actor Joju George’s car during a blockade of the Edappally-Vytilla national highway last week in protest against the surging fuel prices surrendered before the Maradu police on Monday.
Those surrendered are Tony Chammany, former Kochi Mayor; Manu Jacob, Youth Congress (YC) State general secretary; Jerges Jacob, president, YC Thammanam mandalam; and Joseph Maliyekkal, secretary, Congress Vytilla mandalam.
P.Y. Shajah, State Secretary, YC, and Arun Varghese, Ernakulam block secretary, YC, are reportedly on their way to surrender before the police.
Mr. Chammany posted on Facebook that he was surrendering to the police as a law-abiding citizen and that he was confident of proving his innocence.
The accused came in a procession of party leaders and activists led by District Congress Committee president Muhammed Shiyas. The police stopped the procession.
The Maradu police had registered a case against eight activists on the charge of vandalising the actor’s car invoking IPC Sections 142 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 149 (offence committed by a member of an unlawful assembly in prosecution of common object), 283 (Danger or obstruction in public way or line of navigation), 341(wrongful restraint), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 294(b) (sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place). Besides, they were also charged under non-bailable provisions of the Kerala Prevention of Damage to Private Property and Payment of Compensation Act).
The police had already arrested Joseph George, convener of Indian National Trade Union Congress autorickshaw stand, Vytilla; and Shereef Buhari, former president, Congress Thrikkakara mandalam.
“This is a politically fabricated case, which the party will fight legally. It was the collective decision of the party not to seek anticipatory bail, but to ask the activists to surrender and fight the case in the court,” said Mr. Shiyas.
He alleged that the actor had initially sent emissaries to the party to settle the case and that an understanding was reached to withdraw the cases filed against each other and to apologise to each other. Mr. Shiyas accused the actor of backtracking later under pressure from Communist Party of India (Marxist) leaders and those from the film industry affiliated with that party.
The police presented the surrendered before the court.