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Human Rights

Kerala Police Summon Maktoob Editor, Book Journalist for Reporting On Blast Probe

The editor of Maktoob Media, an online news platform, was summoned and questioned by the Kerala Police on National Press Day, 16 November, in relation to a news report that covered the criticism faced by the police for their handling of the Kalamaseny blast case. The police also registered a case against a freelance journalist who contributed to the report, accusing him of provoking a riot.

The report, published on 14 November, quoted community leaders and lawyers who alleged that the police were detaining Muslim youth without any evidence while investigating the blast that killed five people in Kalamaseny, a village in Kozhikode district, on 23 October. The report also included comments from two police officers who were involved in the case.

The police filed a suo moto case against Rejaz M Sheeba Sydeek, the journalist who wrote the report, under section 153 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with provocation with intent to cause a riot. The case was registered at the Vadakara Police Station in Kozhikode. The police also summoned Aslah Kayyalakkath, the editor of Maktoob Media, and interrogated him for several hours.

Maktoob Media issued a statement on 16 November, expressing solidarity with the journalist and the editor, and defending the report as factual and unbiased.
The statement posted by Maktoob Media on its social handles, read that the organisation has provided legal aid to the journalist and the editor and stands with its reportage. The statement also condemned the police action as an attack on press freedom and an attempt to silence independent journalism.
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