Kochi, Mar 4: A group of Students' Federation of India (SFI) activists allegedly trespassed into the office of Malayalam news channel Asianet News here and intimidated the staff over a news report telecast about the sexual assault of a girl, police said here.
A case was registered on Friday against around 30 activists of the SFI, the student wing of the ruling CPI(M) in Kerala, on the basis of a complaint lodged by the TV channel.
According to the complaint, the SFI activists allegedly entered the office around 8 pm on Friday by raising slogans against the news channel after pushing aside the security staff and intimidated its employees, the police said.
CPI(M) sources on Saturday alleged that there was a complaint against the news channel for allegedly creating a fake news using a minor girl about alleged sexual assault of over 10 girl students at a school in northern Kerala. Sources in the SFI Ernakulam District Committee sought to justify the action by claiming that the student outfit organised the march to the Kochi office of the media house in protest against fake news run by it.
The news channel had run the story as part of its programme last year on the drug menace in the state. Police said the activists have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting) and 149 (forming an illegal assembly for the prosecution of a common object of murder).
Criticising the SFI action, the Press Club of India urged the Kerala government to launch an investigation into the incident. "We express concern and lodge our protest over SFI activists reportedly entering the @AsianetNewsML office in Ernakulam and intimidating the staff. These strong-arm tactics have no place in a democracy. The Kerala government should probe this incident swiftly," the Press Club of India said in a tweet on Friday.