Thiruvananthapuram | A row has erupted in Kerala over a case registered by the police over malfunctioning of a microphone, which interrupted the speech of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for a few seconds during a recent programme organised to commemorate the life of late Congress stalwart Oommen Chandy.
The Cantonment police here registered the case on its own on Tuesday on the matter but no one has been implicated as accused so far.
The statement of the microphone operator was recorded and his equipment including amplifier and cable used during the programme, were confiscated.
The commemoration programme was organised on Monday evening at the Ayyankali Hall here by the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) to commemorate Chandy, who died in Bengaluru last week.
A senior police officer told PTI that no complaint was received about the malfunctioning of the microphone but the case was registered as per the instructions from the higher-ups.
He also said the equipment were sent for a detailed scientific examination by the Electrical Division of the state Public Works Department.
The case was registered under Kerala Police Act Section 118 (e) for causing danger to public or failure in public safety.
"The registering of the case is just a technical matter. We have been directed by our higher-ups to confirm if the malfunctioning of the microphone during the CM's speech was due to any technical snag. For that, we have to send the equipment for scientific examination," the officer said.
The state-run agencies would be ready for any such scientific examination only if the request is submitted with the crime number registered and other similar details, he explained.
"That's why we are saying that it is just a technical procedure. There is no need for any controversy. If it is found during the examination that the malfunctioning of the microphone was a technical fault, the issue will be over there," he further said.
The officer also rejected the reports that appeared in a section of media that a case had also been registered against the Congress workers who raised slogans supporting late Chandy during Vijayan's speech.
"No such case was registered till this morning," he added.
Meanwhile, Renjith, a local microphone operator who supplied equipment during the commemmoration programme, said microphone howling was just normal and it was resolved within some seconds.
He expressed surprise on knowing that a case was registered on the matter.
"I felt like laughing when I heard about the case for the first time. I have been in this profession for years and it is my first such experience," he said.
He said he had supplied sound equipment for various VVIP programmes including those of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
Renjith also confirmed that his statement was recorded by the Cantonment police in this regard and promised to return his equipment after the examination.
The case drew widespread criticism on social media and became a hot topic for trollers.
"Please arrest the microphone," one of the trolls, widely shared on the social media platforms, said.
The case also triggered a war of words between the ruling CPI (M) and opposition Congress.
When CPI (M) state secretary M V Govindan and Central Committee member A K Balan responded cautiously without rejecting the case, Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan and senior Congress leader M M Hassan came out harshly criticising it.
Govindan said the case would take its own course while Satheesan asked the police whether they were joking.
"Are you guys joking, @kerala police? You got to be proud that Kerala Police is the first force in the world to file a case against a "Mike" suo moto. Ofcourse it's a gravest violation of public order if a 10 sec technical glitch happens in the mike when @pinarayi vijayan is speaking," Satheesan tweeted.
During the commemoration programme, slogans were shouted from the crowd in support of Chandy as Chief Minister Vijayan walked up to the podium and even prevented him from commencing his speech for a few seconds.
Only after some Congress party leaders gestured to the crowd to stop, did the sloganeering end and Vijayan was able to start his address.