PUCL Bulletin, March 2002

Court Rejects 'Anti-National' Charge Against human rights leader

-- By Mukundan C. Menon, Secretary General, CHRO

The Assistant Sessions and Principal Sub-Judge of Kozhikode, Mr. Mohandas, relieved Prof. P. Koya and two others from all the charges filed by the State, including 124-A (sedition), related to the famous case of publishing a Kashmir map. In his verdict delivered on January 25, 2002, Judge Mohandas held that the prosecution has failed to prove prima facie the charges against the accused, before summarily dismissing the case without going for trial.
Prof. P. Koya is Vice-President of Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (CHRO) Kerala, and Supreme Council Member of National Development Front (NDF). Advocates P.V. Hari and V. P. Abdurehiman argued for the defence.

The main charge against Prof. Koya was for showing Kashmir in green colour in the world map published in "Islamic Encyclopaedia", of which he was the Hony Editor. The other two accused were Pocker and V. A. Razak, publishers of the elaborate volume on world Islam on behalf of Kalima Books, Kozhikode, way back in 1994.

Notably, the State action against the Encyclopaedia followed violence unleashed by RSS goons at a book fair in Kozhikode and burning of the volume alleging that Kashmir was shown "as part of Pakistan". In fact, a cursory look would show that it was a mere demographic sketch of the world map, with international borders intact, but only illustrated the population-wise distribution of Muslims in different parts of the world by using different colours. However, without bothering to verify the facts, the then Congress-led UDF Government immediately swung into arbitrary actions of registering the case and banning the Encyclopaedia without any basis or substance.

On its part, the CPI(M)-led LDF Government arrested Prof. Koya and others in 1997 in the same case. Attached with the English Department of Government Arts and Science College, Kozhikode, Prof. Koya was also kept under suspension by the Marxist Government. He is still under suspension while the official ban on the Encyclopaedia continues to remain in force. Interestingly, although the then Education Minister belonging to IUML E. T. Mohammed Basheer, and the veteran Malayalam literary figure (late) Vaikkom Mohammed Basheer were among the Editorial Advisory Board members of the volume, no action was initiated against them either by the UDF or LDF Government. Notably, Kerala tops the list of criminal cases booked on the Kashmir map issue in India, majority of them initiated after the RSS raised hue-and-cry. Again, there were glaring instances to prove that official actions were selectively initiated only against Muslims involved in such cases, while non-Muslims who committed the same "offence" were spared from litigation.
The CHRO strongly urges all human rights activists/defenders/bodies in India and abroad to take this as an illustrative example as to how the "secular-democratic" Congress and Marxist-led ruling fronts of Kerala initiate blind actions against Muslim minorities under compulsions of RSS violence and also by succumbing to misguided versions of pro-RSS elements within the police force.

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