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Journalist Moves Kerala HC Claiming Police Harassment In Connection With Case Against Online Channel's Editor

An editor of an online channel has been accused of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act harassment by a journalist of a Malayalam daily.

Kerala High Court
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A journalist of a Malayalam daily has moved the Kerala High Court alleging harassment by the police in connection with a case under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against an editor of an online channel.
    
The journalist has claimed that on July 3, police officials raided his home, conducted a search, and "asked about the accused" -- Shajan Skaria -- in the SC/ST case.
    
In addition to creating an atmosphere of "terror" in his home, the police later seized his mobile which is the sole source of his livelihood, the scribe has claimed in his plea which has sought interim directions from the court to return his phone.
    
He has also claimed in his petition, filed through advocate Jayasurya Bharathan, that the search at his home was unauthorised as no prior notice was served upon him nor did the officers have a warrant.
    
The journalist also claimed that he was not an accused in the case under the SC/ST Act and there was no incriminating evidence against him.
    
He said that his only connection with the accused Skaria was the occasional sharing of news for remuneration.
    
The scribe, in his plea, has urged the court to direct the police not to harass him nor search his home or summon him to the police station.
    
He has also sought action against the police for the allegedly illegal search conducted at his home.
    
The High Court is likely to hear the matter on July 10.
    
The police took action against the online news channel -- 'Marunadan Malayali' -- as part of an investigation to trace its editor, Shajan Skaria, following a case filed against him under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act by an MLA belonging to the ruling Left front.
    
The police intensified the action against the online channel, days after the Kerala High Court dismissed Skaria's anticipatory bail plea in the complaint lodged with the Elamakkara police by Left MLA P V Sreenijin, who represents Kunnathunad constituency.
    
After MLA Sreenijin complained to the police alleging that the online media channel deliberately defamed him by spreading fake news, Skaria moved the special court seeking protection from arrest.
    
The special court dismissed the plea, saying that publication of the video containing derisive and derogatory comments is sufficient to attract the alleged offences, and hence the bar on anticipatory bail under Section 18 of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act would apply.
    
Skaria then moved the high court, but it upheld the session's court order, making scathing observations against the online news channel's style of functioning.

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