IG Sreejith made it clear that they haven't given police's riot gear to women, but provided them with helmets and security shields to avoid violence in Sabarimala.
Pathanamthitta: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader has filed a complaint against two police officials, who tried to escort women to the Sabarimala sannidanam (sanctum sanctorum). Kerala BJP general secretary AN Radhakrishnan has lodged a complaint with Kerala DGP Lokanath Behara against IG S Sreejith and Manoj Abraham.
In Radhakrishnan's complaint, he said that IG S Sreejith and Manoj Abraham had violated Section 43 of the Kerala police act. According to section 43, police uniforms cannot be worn by people, who are not in service. According to the BJP leader's complaint, the accused had deliberately given their uniforms to escort women to Sabarimala.
IG Sreejith made it clear that they haven't given police's riot gear to women but only their helmets and security shields to avoid violence. The women had demanded security earlier itself. Based on that, they provided protection to them, Sreejith said.
On October 19, two women (Kavitha Jakkal and Rehana Fathima) were attempting to enter Sabarimala, wearing the riot gear. They trekked with massive police protection and were stopped by Ayyappa devotees. This incident caused major furore and the cops had to take them back home.
The CPI(M)-led LDF government of Kerala has been accused of communalising the atmosphere of the state by pitting the followers of one religion against another. To aggravate the crisis, the women activists who wished to enter the Sabarimala shrine by force, taking advantage of the Supreme Court order, were mostly not from south India (and, hence, not likely to be devotees of Lord Ayyappa) and some like Rehana Fathima and Mary Sweety were not even Hindus. This couldn't be an act of honouring the court verdict because a court offers a legal remedy to the aggrieved while those who are not devotees of Ayyappa could not have been the aggrieved party.
The devotees had another issue with the administration. KJ Joseph, Jacob Punnoose and Sibi Mathew, who occupy the top echelons of Kerala Police, called the shots as far as police action at the shrine was concerned while Manoj Abraham was posted on duty in the troubled area. Then, as though to address the issue, the communist government of the state posted IGP S Sreejith at the site. This was a clear message from the government that it dealt with a secular wing like the police communally.
While Behera might say now that personally attacking police officers based on their religion, devotion and faith cannot be allowed and chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan says a duty cannot be assigned to a police officer on the basis of his caste or religion, the state government's actions do not echo the sentiment of their words.
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Last Updated Oct 25, 2018, 3:31 PM IST