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.
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.