It was yesterday (Wednesday), April 5 that marked the 60th year of Kerala’s first ministry led by Communist veteran EMS Namboodiripad.
CPM State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan wrote an article yesterday in the party’s mouthpiece citing the relevance and significance of the day. ‘The EMS government announced that the police force would not be used as a tool to suppress the fair protests by the working class to safeguard their rights. It was this government that ordered that all the police stations in the state should have a sitting bench for the laymen who reach the station for various needs’. So goes his words. The decision to place a bench for seating in police stations forming an important policy of a government might be deemed trivial or ridiculous today. But at a time when popular and democratic perspectives regarding the police haven’t been evolved, the EMS government taking such a decision is historically relevant. As per the outlook of the Left government, the police is only a torture-tool in the hands of the capitalist governing system. They were of the view that the Left government functioning within such a system should maintain much vigilance towards the police force. The government’s decision of a bench for seating the complainants in the police stations stems from this thought. However, the issue here is different. It was the same day of celebrating the 60th year of the historic ministry that a mother mourning the death of her son, protesting outside the DGP’s office, was mercilessly dragged and forcefully removed from the site, sparking a controversy.
Jishnu Pranoy, a student of Nehru College of Engineering and Research Centre, Pampady, Thrissur hailing from Valayam, Kozhikode, was found dead in the college 89 days ago. He allegedly committed suicide following harassment by the college management. But his family including his mother Mahija say that Jishnu was killed. Whatever the conclusions, punishing those responsible for his death is fundamental justice. But there have been absolute negligence on part of the police right from the start. One of the aspersions is that the charge sheet was prepared in a way so as to make it easy for the accused to secure anticipatory bail. The police so far haven’t been able to arrest even those who failed to get the anticipatory bail. According to the critics, the reason was because that the police, the government and the ruling party were under the influence of the college management.
Analyzing all aspects, it could be concluded that there has been a mistake on the part of police in the Jishnu Pranoy case. The criticism that the government has been adopting a soft stance towards the culprits is true to an extent. Jishnu’s family have been right from the beginning strongly resisting this stance of the police. They complained several times but failed. It’s only after realizing that their complaints weren’t properly heard that Jishnu’s parents and relatives decided to protest outside the DGP’s office. However, the approach of the police is something that surely draws flak. Jishnu’s family are active supporters of the CPM. The fact that they are being controlled from behind couldn’t be true. A CPM MLA saying that they have been misled by Left terrorists can only be seen as nonsensical. The ignorance of the party in reacting to the public issues is the reason for such statements.
The opposition has hit out sharply at the police for their attitude towards Jishnu’s mother and it is natural. It is also obvious that even the CPM would have reacted the same way or still sharper had they been the Opposition. However, the government shouldn’t have overreacted and aggravated the matter. The police could have behaved more sensibly. But it didn’t happen. The government will certainly face flak and the images of Jishnu’s mother being forcefully dragged will forever haunt the Pinarayi Vijayan government. As pointed out many a times before in this column, the state Home Department has been an absolute failure. The party state committee has also analysed this aspect. Yesterday’s incident proves that no major changes could be anticipated despite all the efforts. When will we be able to witness a police force that has a bit more civility and professionalism?