On Monday, the body of a newly-married young man, Kevin P Joseph (26), was fished out from a moat near Thenmala in Kollam district of Kerala. His wife, Neenu (20), has alleged her relatives are behind the kidnapping and murder of her husband. In what is being suspected as a case of honour killing, Neenu also pointed fingers at the inefficiency of the local police by delaying the registration of the FIR and not following up on the case at the right time. The LDF government has responded by suspending the local SI and ASI at the Gandhinagar police station. The Opposition Congress has demanded an impartial probe and culpability to be fixed at higher levels of the police force. Both the BJP and the Congress have announced bandhs in Kottayam district tomorrow.
As the LDF government under the leadership of chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan completes two years, we take a look at a list of police excesses in the state. It is significant because the home ministry, under which the police comes, is directly handled by the chief minister.
* Sreejith’s custodial death: The custodial torture and subsequent death of Sreejith, a native of Varapuzha, has rocked the image of the police force in the state which has, in the past as well, used extensively third-degree torture techniques. Sreejith was proved to have arrested in a case of mistaken identity in April this year and then tortured by the local police post which he died at a hospital a few days later. Several police officers including SI Deepak were arrested and Rural SP-AV George suspended in the aftermath of the incident.
* Jishnu Prannoy’s mother manhandled by police: The visuals of a mother of a young boy, who was found dead at an engineering college, being roughed up and manhandled by the police in front of its headquarters in Thiruvananthapuram were widely condemned by civil society and Opposition parties. Mahija, Jishnu’s mother, who had appeared before the DGP office to protest police delay in arresting the accused involved in her son’s death, was later bundled into a police van, arrested and later released.
* Violence against transgenders in Kozhikode: Two transwomen registered a police complaint in Kozhikode city complaining of violence from the cops. They said they were assaulted by patrolling policemen in the dead of night on December 27 while they were returning home after a cultural programme. The incident provoked the chief minister to order a probe into the incident.
* Woman ASI suspended for taking video of nude transgender: A woman ASI officer in Alappuzha South police station was suspended after she took a video of a transgender person at the station with nudity in it. She later shared with another person who distributed it on social media platforms. The transperson was brought to the station after he created a ruckus in front of a shop.
* Dalit teen tortured at police station: The family of 19-year-old Vinayakan has alleged that he was tortured at the local police station in Pavarati post which he was found hanging at his home. The family said he was wrongly picked up by the police and accused of being a chain-snatcher.
* Allegation of police torture in Edakkad: The death of an auto rickshaw driver, A Unais, in Edakkad in Kannur district should be attributed to the injuries he reportedly suffered after police torture, his family told reporters. An undelivered letter written by Unais to the district police chief talking about his torture in custody was later found by his family and released to the media.
* Police action against Dalits in Vadayampady: Dalit protests against a ‘caste wall’ erected by upper-caste Nairs near a temple in Vadayampady in Ernakulam district have often met with police lathi-charge. Several activists protesting in support of the Dalits have complained of police adopting a biased approach against them and taking a line in support of the upper-castes.