Polic­ing is about pol­i­tics in Ker­ala

The in­tel­li­gence wing has sub­mit­ted ev­i­dences of the po­lice as­so­ci­a­tion meet­ings be­ing used as ‘a plat­form to dis­cuss pol­i­tics’, where of­fice bear­ers at times use abu­sive lan­guages against cer­tain for­mer Chief Min­is­ters.

The Sunday Guardian - - Covert -

Af­ter crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion comes the news of ram­pant politi­ci­sa­tion of the po­lice force in Ker­ala. Not that the men in uni­form were apo­lit­i­cal in the state, but with the Left back in power there was this ap­pre­hen­sion that the force would slowly turn red. Ac­cord­ing to a clas­si­fied re­port pre­pared by the state in­tel­li­gence depart­ment, there is an in­creas­ing ten­dency among the force “to raise po­lit­i­cal slo­gans” com­mem­o­rat­ing “mar­tyrs” dur­ing as­so­ci­a­tion meet­ings. These hap­pened re­cently at as­so­ci­a­tion meet­ings held in Er­naku­lam, Kozhikode and Pathanamthitta dis­tricts. The in­tel­li­gence wing has sub­mit­ted ev­i­dences of the as­so­ci­a­tion be­ing used as “a plat­form to dis­cuss pol­i­tics”, where of­fice bear­ers at times use abu­sive lan­guages against cer­tain for­mer Chief Min­is­ters. Along with the re­port, In­tel­li­gence ADGP T.K. Vinod Ku­mar has re­port­edly handed over a let­ter high­light­ing the grav­ity of the sit­u­a­tion. Mar­tyrs’ com­mem­o­ra­tion by erect­ing ceno­taphs painted red and rais­ing slo­gans such as “In­quilab Zind­abad” were in vi­o­la­tion of the ser­vice rules. Also many of these as­so­ci­a­tions in­vite lead­ers of the rul­ing front, who most of the times de­liver po­lit­i­cal speeches detri­men­tal to the ethics of the force it­self, the re­port said. State DGP Lok­nath Be­hera has promised to take ac­tion against those who went against the pol­icy of the force, which is not to have any po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tions. The as­so­ci­a­tions are mainly meant to work for the wel­fare of its mem­bers. “The range IGs have been asked to file a re­port on the is­sue,” Be­hera said.

In Ker­ala, there are mainly four as­so­ci­a­tions rep­re­sent­ing the force. The largest, Ker­ala Po­lice As­so­ci­a­tion ( KPA), mainly com­prises or­di­nary policemen and women. The Ker­ala Po­lice Of­fi­cers’ As­so­ci­a­tion rep­re­sents ASIs, SIs and CIs. Ser­vice Of­fi­cers’ As­so­ci­a­tion mem­bers in­clude DYSPs and non-IPS of­fi­cers. Then there is the IPS As­so­ci­a­tion, in­clud­ing heavy­weight of­fi­cers, which hogs most of the lime­light by its open con­fronta­tion with the IAS lobby. It is the KPA and the Of­fi­cers’ As­so­ci­a­tion which pub­licly demon­strate their po­lit­i­cal lean­ings, mostly to­wards the Left, though there are ex­cep­tions when the as­so­ci­a­tions come un­der Congress con­trol. “Saf­fro­ni­sa­tion” is a late comer, but there is no de­nial that an un­der­cur­rent of Hin­dutva runs deep in the force. But re­cently, it is the state con­fer­ence of the Ker­ala Po­lice Of­fi­cers’ As­so­ci­a­tion which be­came con­tro­ver­sial. It was re­ported that at least 50 of­fi­cers, mostly be­long­ing to the north­ern dis­tricts, came for the meet­ing wear­ing red shirts like the red vol­un­teers at CPM and CPI con­fer­ences. This was in the pres­ence of Chief Min­is­ter Pi­narayi Vi­jayan and his most-favoured DGP, Be­hera. They sat in a sep­a­rate bloc and ap­par­ently five of­fi­cers be­long­ing to the spe­cial in­ves­tiga­tive cell also joined them. At that time no ob­jec­tions were raised ei­ther by the Chief Min­is­ter, nor the DGP. How­ever, both of them had talked elo­quently about the need to serve the peo­ple bet­ter and praised the force for its “ex­em­plary be­hav­iour”. Not long ago, the Chief Min­is­ter used to tell his po­lice to get out of the “han­gover” of the past regime, mean­ing the Congress gov­ern­ment. At other times, he had blamed RSS of in­fil­trat­ing the force, and work­ing against the in­ter­ests of the LDF gov­ern­ment. But he and his party had been stead­fastly silent about the as­so­ci­a­tions turn­ing red.

The as­so­ci­a­tion has so far held as many as 27 con­fer­ences across the state; many of them presided over by prom­i­nent Left politi­cians, who joined policemen in of- fer­ing flo­ral trib­utes to mar­tyrs and rais­ing slo­gans in their mem­ory. Which mar­tyrs they re­mem­bered is not very clear, though Op­po­si­tion par­ties had said they were CPM ones! But one thing was sure: the of­fi­cers were not pay­ing trib­ute to those who died in cus­tody. In­stead the as­so­ci­a­tion is us­ing all its might to put pres­sure on the gov­ern­ment to give a clean chit to the for­mer Er­naku­lam Ru­ral SP, A.V. Ge­orge, who is fac­ing mur­der charges in the now in­fa­mous Varap­puzha cus­tody death of Sree­jith early last month. Ge­orge, in all like­li­hood, will walk free, ir­re­spec­tive of who­ever is in power.

Mean­while, the KPA has de­nied any po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tions and clar­i­fied that com­mem­o­ra­tive cer­emo- nies were or­gan­ised to pay trib­utes to those of­fi­cers who were mar­tyred while on duty, though there was none from Ker­ala in re­cent mem­ory. As­so­ci­a­tion gen­eral sec­re­tary, P.G. Anil Ku­mar, in a state­ment said, “Po­lice of­fi­cers might have had po­lit­i­cal lean­ings be­fore join­ing the ser­vice. But once they be­come part of the force, they will be du­ty­bound to pro­tect the lives and prop­erty of the cit­i­zens with­out any po­lit­i­cal tag at­tached to them.” Ac­cord­ing to him, higher-ups would have warned them if there was such a re­port, mean­ing no such warn­ing has been is­sued down the line.

Well said than done. Only dif­fer­ence is that pub­lic per­cep­tion about the force is some­thing dif­fer­ent. Re­cently the Speaker of the Ker­ala As­sem­bly, Sri­ra­makr­ish­nan had said that peo­ple should get used to go­ing to po­lice sta­tions un­ac­com­pa­nied by lo­cal po­lit­i­cal “dadas”. He just stated the ob­vi­ous. In party strongholds like Kan­nur, it is the lo­cal party unit which de­cides which po­lice of­fi­cer gets posted where and whom the of­fi­cer should ar­rest. Even now there are in­stances of party cadre raid­ing the po­lice sta­tion to free their com­rades. In this con­text it is rel­e­vant to re­mem­ber what the present CPM state sec­re­tary, Kodiy­eri Balakr­ish­nan had said while in Op­po­si­tion. He had threat­ened to turn ev­ery po­lice sta­tion in the state into bomb-mak­ing units. That it is the very same Kodiy­eri who later be­came home min­is­ter of the state is the irony of it.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.