Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, the state secretary of the CPI-M and former Home Minister of the state, has lashed out at the State Police for misusing the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) referring to the unnecessary charges slapped on the citizens for raising political issues.
‘The recent incidents have proved that there are some officers in the state police force whose style of functioning is against the government’s police act and policy. Appropriate action should be initiated against them’ – these are not the remarks of some government critics or leaders of the political parties in the Opposition but of Balakrishnan, who is also a politburo member. What he meant by his words in his Tuesday’s Facebook post is crystal clear to the readers: The lunatic nationalists file a complaint against those who follow a different political and ideological stand unacceptable to the former. As soon as the complaint is received, the police act quickly taking the accused into custody. The next step is to book them under various charges like section 124 (A) of sedition and the UAPA.
The sedition charge and the UAPA have recently become a sword that can be used by any police officer as per his wish. This state of affairs has been gaining momentum leading to sharp criticisms that the state police have been relegated to a group that functions according to the ‘commands’ of the Yuva Morcha. For a moment, it can be neglected considering it as the ‘routine’ criticism from the Opposition parties. Even while they ‘air’ such remarks, they are not aware of the fact that things were not any better during their tenure. So let’s ignore that. What should be noted is that veteran CPI-M leader and former Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan came up against the police actions. It shows that even the leaders in the ruling front accept the fact that there is something ‘rotten’ in the state police force.
The latest incident that brought the State police force into the fore again is the action taken against writer and theatre activist Kamal C Chavara and Nadi Gulmohar who was with Kamal to serve as a bystander at the hospital. It is a crazy act to book a person for sedition just because of a Facebook post that was critical of the national anthem. The UAPA is a law that has been termed ‘barbaric’ by the CPI-M national leadership. The law was first used in Kerala when Kodiyeri Balakishnan was the Home Minister of the state. The UDF government that later came to power was more enthusiastic in using it. The case related to arms training at Narath in Kannur is an instance. The High Court had on Monday ruled that the UAPA can’t be used in the Narath case. The court verdict is a serious warning to those who use the UAPA as they wish.
In principle, the police, for the Communists, is one of the weapons of oppression in the hands of bourgeois government. However, it is a fact that the present LDF government in the state is not as careful and cautious as any Left government should be while dealing with such issues. But it is a good indication that there are serious, positive criticisms coming from within the very Left against such acts. The recent remarks of Kanam Rajendran, V S Achuthanandan, and Kodiyeri Balakrishnan justify that. There is also a hint that the government is ready to take criticisms in its spirit and rectify the mistakes in its way ahead. It is a good step that Nadi Gulmohar was let off and the sedition charge slapped on Kamal C Chavara was revoked.
This is not a case concerning just two youths. There are many in our society including those in the police force, who are in support of the right wing aggression that has been gaining momentum nationwide under the Modi government. Balakrishnan does agree with that, even though vaguely, in his Facebook post. Therefore, the government should be able to intervene in the police force with much caution and carefulness. It is a political responsibility of the Left wing to make sure that the ‘over-enthusiasts’ in the police force do not malign the image of the CPI-M-led LDF government in the state.