Kottayam/Thiruvananthapuram: Tension prevailed in Devikolam on Munnar hills as local CPM leaders prevented and abused sub collector Sriram Venkitaraman, who led a Revenue team, to evict alleged encroachers, from government land. Policemen on the scene, who refused to carry out sub-collector’s arrest order, now face disciplinary action. The sub collector had rushed to the site on getting information that a group led by Devikluam panchayat member Suresh Kumar had beaten up Lisson, an ex serviceman who is a member of Public Land Protection Force (PLPF).
Earlier, two members of the force had gone to the site along with tahsildar Shaiju Jacob to remove the encroachments. When the sub collector directed the policen who arrived from Devikulam police station to arrest the panchayat member for assaulting Lisson, they didn’t comply with his orders. The cops maintained that the incident did not happen in front of them. It is alleged that all this happened while the panchayat member was seen daring the police to arrest him and was openly saying that he had assaulted Lisson. In view of the tension, the sub collector had also requisitioned 30 of his staff members to the site. Though the gang was openly preventing the officials from discharging their duties, the policemen remained silent spectators.
In the meanwhile, the group pulled down the shed and removed the encroachments. The gang also used abusive language against the sub collector. The revenue officials had gone there to evict ten cents of land occupied by Mani, a retired health department. He had erected a shed on the encroached prime government land adjacent to RDO office and Community Health Centre. “There is a clear violation of the local order given by the Sub Collector, who is also the executive magistrate, for arresting the attacker who prevented the revenue officials from implementing the duty to evict the encroacher. I have demanded a report from the Sub Collector. Further action will be taken based on the inquiry report. The police officials defying sub collector's order is a serious issue,” G.R. Gokul, Idukki district Collector told this newspaper.
Meanwhile, Idukki district police chief, K.B. Venugopal justified the police saying that the police officials were not given prior intimation about the eviction drive. “The police only reached the spot after the incident happened. We were not properly intimated,” he said. Later, following the intervention of senior police officials, a case was registered against the panchayat member and local CPM leader Suresh Kumar and CPM area secretary Joby John for causing hurt to the (PLPF) member Lisson. Devikulam Circle Inspector Ashad Sadanandan told DC that no case had been registered against CPM leaders for threatening the sub collector as he had not given any petition in this regard.
Revenue minister E. Chandrashekharan expressed serious concern over the manner in which officials were prevented from discharging their duties. “They were implementing the LDF government's police to remove all encroachments in Idukki district especially Munnar. It is unfortunate that the police failed to provide adequate protection to the officials. Sufficient police force was also not provided to the revenue officials," he told DC. The minister said he had asked for detailed report about the incident. He had also taken up the matter with the chief minister's private secretary....