Kochi: Around 30 members of SFI — the student wing of CPI(M) — barged into the office of Asianet TV here and intimidated the staff, sources said on Saturday.
They pushed aside the security and trespassed into the news room.
Raising slogans, the activists allegedly threatened the employees of dire consequence if they did not “mend their ways”. Later, they put up a banner inside the office also.
According to the sources, surprisingly, the SFI activists had been camping near the office located at a busy part of the commercial city for a long, but there were no efforts by police to remove them.
Reacting to the incident, Leader of Opposition V.D.Satheesan said it reflects the arrogance of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Such undemocratic acts have started ever since he got a second term in 2021.
“The anti-social elements get emboldened as they get full support of Vijayan and his government. We strongly condemn this dastardly act unleashed by the state government which has become jittery as it is under close scrutiny from the media.
The media has the right to do their job and they criticise not just the government, but also the opposition. This is sheer intolerance of Vijayan, who often speaks of media freedom, but now it seems that’s not applicable for them, but for all others. This is the routine hypocritical stand of Vijayan and the CPI(M),” said Satheesan.
Asianet TV, of late, has come under duress from the CPI(M) and its leading news anchor, Vinu V.John was asked to appear before the police in the state capital city, last month for a statement he made against Elamaram Kareem, the Rajya Sabha member of the CPI(M).
Meanwhile, various bodies of journalists have condemned this act unleashed by the SFI and have called for a state wide protest.
Ruling Left Democratic Front convenor E.P.Jayarajan, a very senior CPI(M) leader and a former State Industries Minister said that he is not aware of what has happened.
“Let me study what happened,” said Jayarajan.
AICC general secretary (Organisation) K.C. Venugopal said this is exactly what one gets to see in Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi gags those who speak against him
“Both of them travel on the same track,” said Venugopal.
The Kochi police have registered a case against several SFI activists for this protest which is yet to take any action.