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Mata Amritanandamayi issue: Media gagged-bandh call

Kochi, Mar 13 (): Mata Amritanandamayi mutt issue took a turn with Kerala police registering cases on various counts against five news organizations that reported the revelations of sexual assault in a book written by a former woman inmate.

Kerala Dheevara Saba has called for bandh to protest the smear campaign against Mata Amritanandamayi. A Supreme Court lawyer who filed a complaint against mutt and seeking a FIR be filed too has been charged along with the author of the book. The matter has come in for criticism from the Press Council of India. Reporter TV, Indiavision, Mediaone,People TV and newspapers Madhyamam and Thejas are those booked. Interestingly Jamaiat Islami organization named in the complaint before the CJM has been left out.

Police action follows a direction by CJM of  Ernakulam to inquire into a complaint filed against the author of the book, news organizations, a lawyer and Jamait Islami for spreading false news about Mata Amritanandamayi mutt and creating disharmony among communities. News organizations who reported about Mata Amritanandamayi mutt goings-on revealed by the author have created enmity between different groups on basis of religion, acted against national integration, deliberate acts to wound religious feelings and a criminal conspiracy.

Prakash, the lawyer who has been charged for asking the police to file a FIR on the rape charge says it his social responsibility to inform the police about a criminal act and questions how a report on rape inside the mutt disturbs religious harmony. The author based in Hawaii got an e-mail from Kerala police to report to the station to give evidence. Prakash says that the police inaction to file a FIR is violation of SC verdict in a similar case.

Reporter TV says it is an attempt to silence the media and it is also because they criticized the police action in filing cases against the persons who posted comments in social media. Mata Amritanandamayi mutt will move the New York court against the Hawaii-based publisher and the author.

Kerala Dheevara Saba, an organization representing fisherfolk (Mata Amritanandamayi comes from this community), has through an advertisement in dailies called for shutdown on March 14.

It cautioned media and the forces behind it as people from coastal areas will isolate them and they will soon see the response . It also cautioned the general layman that if limits are crossed the result will be disastrous. Kerala Dheevara Saba had recently decided to revive Democratic Labour Party to ensure that its community was represented in government bodies. This advertisement is now the subject of discussion in the social media.