The Communist Party of India (CPI) in Kerala has announced that the party would take legal action against Janmabhumi, a right-wing Malayalam newspaper, for falsely reporting that the party’s Assembly candidate in Thrissur’s Nattika Assembly constituency ‘died’. In its Thrissur edition on Sunday, the newspaper published the false news about CC Mukundan, a day after CPI, an ally of the Left Democratic Front (LDF), announced his candidature.
The false news was published along with a photo of the CPI leader under the obituary section of the newspaper. After the incident triggered widespread criticism on social media and the CPI slammed the move, the paper pulled down the e-paper of its Thrissur edition.
CPI’s Thrissur District Committee stated that the party would move legally against the newspaper for publishing fake news. “Mukundan’s family is going through severe mental trauma as a result of this fake news. In this situation, we have decided to approach the Election Commission against the newspaper,” CPI stated.
“This fake news has revealed the brahminical-fascist face of the politics of Janmabhumi newspaper. Such fake news is created as part of their intolerance towards a Dalit leader being chosen as a candidate,” the CPI Thrissur district committee alleged in a statement.
The party also alleged that someone who “sensed that they would fail in the Assembly election” was behind the deed.
While CC Mukundan has not reacted to the controversy yet, he posted images of his election campaign on Facebook on Sunday.
Last year, the newspaper had run into another controversy for publishing similar false news about a Kerala journalist. The paper falsely called her ‘an accused in the 2008 Bengaluru bomb blasts.’ KK Shahina, a senior editor at The Federal, was one of the first Indian journalists to be charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). She was charged in connection with her interview with two witnesses in the 2008 bomb blasts in Bengaluru. After the newspaper falsely called her an “accused in the case”, the reporter had stated that she will move legally against the paper.