A video of a Muslim crowd protesting against the appointment of IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman as Alappuzha collector is making rounds on social media. Right-wing groups and media are spreading misinformation by claiming that the crowd is protesting against the IAS officer’s appointment because he is a Hindu, Brahmin.
However, the reality is that they protested because the officer has been accused of killing a journalist while driving under the influence of alcohol.
Credits: India Today
India Today searched on Facebook for videos of recent protest marches in Malappuram and found several similar-looking videos of a protest shared on July 30. The videos purportedly showed a march to the Malappuram Collectorate held in protest against the appointment of Venkitaraman as the Collector of Alappuzha.
The slogans shouted in the video say, “Revoke the order appointing the collector. Government, aren’t you ashamed to entrust the authority to a drunkard, who is a killer.”
Also, the fake news on social media claims that only Muslim outfits were involved, whereas the reality is that the Congress Party and journalist groups were protesting against the decision ever since the appointment order came.
On July 26, black flags were waved at the IAS officer, when he reached the collectorate to take charge, by Youth Congress workers. The protestors were forcefully removed from the collectorate office by the police. AICC general secretary KC Venugopal strongly condemned the appointment calling him a tainted officer.
The next day, the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) held a protest march in Alappuzha outside the collectorate. Similar protests were held in different districts of Kerala by journalists.
Also, several media reports have talked about a state-wide protest organized by Kerala Muslim Jamaath against this appointment. The reports clearly state that they opposed Venkitaraman’s appointment because he is the primary accused in the death of a Kerala journalist.
The victim, Basheer (35) was the Thiruvananthapuram bureau chief of the Malayalam daily Siraj. He was killed in an accident when a car allegedly driven by Venkitaraman bumped into the journalist’s bike. As per reports, there were allegations that police tried to protect the IAS officer, even though eyewitnesses said that Venkitaraman was behind the wheel and was in an unconscious state when he stepped out of his car.
— S. Anandan (@Anandans76) August 3, 2022
At the time of the accident, Venkitaraman was the director of the Department of Survey and Land Records. He is now appointed as the Chairman of Kerala State Supplies Corporation Ltd.
References: India Today, The News Minute, Twitter
Featured Image Source: The News Minute