THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The police “high-handedness” against Dalit Human Rights Movement (DHRM) workers at Kuruvalla colony near Pothencode has snowballed into a major controversy with rights activists questioning it. A video on Friday showing Pothencode SI Aswini Kumar holding an activist by his collar, shouting and asking for identity cards, had gone viral on the social media. The incident happened when a group of people had assembled to celebrate the birthday of DHRM activist Aneesh’s daughter in their house.
According to Pothencode CI S. Shaji, the police team had gone to the colony on receiving information over the phone that certain suspicious persons had gathered in a particular house. “The residents blocked police which led to a heated argument. We had asked them to produce their IDs, using no force,” he said. "The matter has been resolved". However, DHRM countered the police claim, saying the SI behaved very rudely, threatened them and refused to reveal the reason for conducting checks.
Despite repeatedly asking about the offence for which they were being harassed, the SI kept on shouting at them. He pushed aside a middle-aged man who tried to intervene. There were reports that police had gone to the colony on the directions from Child Rights Commission to inquire about a complaint that a section of children was not being allowed to study outside. When contacted, Child Rights Commission Chairperson Shobha Koshy said: "We did receive a complaint a few months ago about some children being kept in a particular house, being given some kind of education and not being sent to school.”
She said directions were issued to the police to inquire into the issue. “But inquiry does not mean shouting at people. The police is supposed to be child-friendly, people friendly,” she said. Commission member M. P. Antoni who handled the case said there was a written complaint and also certain media reports. “It was a few months ago. There was no recent follow-up,” he added. This clearly indicated that the cops’ visit on Friday was not related to the Commission complaint. The CI has also said the police had gone to the colony to check the presence of suspicious looking people.