PFI sloganeering case: Police take boy’s father into custody

The police on May 28 took the father of the boy who chanted ‘provocative’ slogans at a Popular Front of India (PFI) rally in Alappuzha on May 21 into custody.

Though the police traced the boy to Palluruthy within Kochi city police limits two days ago, the family had gone into hiding. The police nabbed the father after the family returned to their house.

Alappuzha Deputy Superintendent of Police NR Jayaraj said the father was being brought to Alappuzha. His arrest would be recorded later.

Despite the boy being located, the police cannot arrange him as an accused as per the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act. The police are expected to submit a report to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) considering his delinquent behaviour. The CWC will then have to arrange for his counseling in a safe and secure environment.

Since the video featuring the boy sitting on the shoulder of a man and raising incendiary slogans went viral, the Alappuzha south police have arrested 20 PFI men in connection with the case. They were booked under Sections 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups), 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code along with Sections 75 (punishment for cruelty to child) and 83 (2) (use of child by militant groups or other adults) of the JJ Act.

The boy was brought to the rally by his father, who is reportedly a PFI worker.

In one of the remand reports submitted before a local court in Alappuzha, the police had hinted at conspiracy and that the minor received training to chant slogans. The accused had tried to stir up the Muslim community and hurt the sentiments of other religions. They let the child raise provocative slogans to fan religious sentiments and promote enmity between religious groups, the report said.

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