Under attack from various quarters for his statement targeting the media, CPI(M) state secretary M V Govindan on Tuesday made a U turn, claiming that his remarks were misinterpreted and that he did not say the media would face legal action for reporting against the Left government in the state.
Accusing the media of adopting the approach of making sheep into dogs, Govindan said here that he was only responding to the "conspiracy" involved in blaming the state secretary of SFI, the student wing of the CPI(M), in connection with a mark list controversy in a government autonomous college in Kochi.
A woman journalist of a leading news channel was booked by police in a conspiracy case on SFI leader P M Arsho's complaint.
Adopting a hard stand on the matter, Govindan had said that any anti-government or anti-SFI campaign in the name of reporting would invite action. His statement targeting the media was slammed by opposition parties, cultural icons, and the media fraternity in the southern state.
Reacting to the criticism against him, the CPI(M) state secretary today termed as "completely absurd" the reports accusing him over his statement.
He said he did not say that the state government should not be criticised. "Everyone has the right to criticise the government", the CPI(M) leader said.
Govindan clarified that he had said legal action should be taken if media persons were involved in the conspiracy against SFI state secretary Arsho in the Marklist controversy.
"I stick to it", the CPI(M) secretary said and claimed that his statement was distorted by a section of the media.
Govindan alleged that the conspiracy against Arsho was hatched as per script, and it should be investigated and action taken against those who were allegedly involved in it.
On Sunday, Govindan said, "In the name of press reporting, if an anti-government or anti-SFI campaign is run, then they will be included in the case. It has been done in the past and will happen again. Let there be no doubt about it."
"Everyone who was part of the conspiracy (in Arsho case) will be brought before the law," he had added.
The Left leader's stand was severely criticised by many, including Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president K Sudhakaran.
A case was registered by police under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code such as Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 465 (forgery) and 500 (defamation) among others on June 9 against five persons, including the journalist.
A controversy erupted on June 6 after KSU raised an allegation showing a mark list in which Arsho, who is also a student of Maharaja's College in Ernakulam, had "passed" even though he did not attend any exam.
Later, the college clarified that his name was seen among another batch's results and clarified it as a technical error.
"A fake result was published in March 2023 in which the complainant has cleared an exam, which he did not even register for and the same was circulated through social media on June 6 with an intention to tarnish the image of the complainant and SFI," the FIR read.
Arsho had alleged that there was a conspiracy behind the incident.
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