No beating around the bush or prologue is needed to say that that the Home department of Kerala has become an absolute failure.
A series of incidents of violence against women that has been surfacing of late is what compels us to make such an observation. The reality is that the conduct of the police after Pinarayi Vijayan came to power, is in no way assuring. The readymade reply by the Left Front for this criticism would be something like this: ‘Wasn’t it more pathetic during the tenure of the erstwhile government?’ It was due to the poor performance of the previous government that the people elected the present dispensation. Their meagre performance is not the yardstick for gauging the present government. It was in the wake of the Jisha rape and murder case, that the last assembly elections took place and the Left government came to power. Tracking down the murderer soon after coming to power, came as immense relief to the government. Beyond all that, the expectations that the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who also handles the Home affairs, would put up an impressive performance, were rife. The reason for that is he has some great personal qualities that a Minister who handles the Home affairs should have. A hard task master with organizational capability to the core, steadfastness and courage, Pinarayi Vijayan holds the image of an iron man. However, analyzing the performance of the police so far, it could be said that he failed to bring about any constructive changes to the general state of the force.
It would be inane to anticipate an abrupt transition immediately after Vijayan comes to power. Police force was established decades ago and has its own methods of operation. The vices that afflict the social conscience also afflict the police. Nevertheless, there are minimum qualities that are expected from the police force of the Left government. It’s not visible in the Kerala police force. The police force shouldn’t have been turned into a system that backs and encourages factors which determine the public conscience such as misogyny, anti-Dalit and anti-minority sentiments and moral policing. They should sympathize with the victim. But in incidents ranging from sexual abuse to moral policing, the police are usually seen taking sides with the predators.
The Walayar incident in which three girls including two sisters committed suicide after being sexually assaulted, is shocking. If the police had intervened properly after the first suicide, the other two tragedies wouldn’t have happened. The police were watching as mere spectators when the Shiv Sena activists unleashed attacks in Kochi. Chief Minister had in the assembly admitted that there were serious lapses on part of the police in preventing the incident. It’s been a month since the police registered a case in which the students of University College, Thiruvananthapuram were subjected to moral policing attacks by the SFI. No arrests have been made so far. Although a case was registered following a complaint by Salwa Abdul Khader, a student of Government College, Madapally, Kozhikode, against the atrocities of the SFI, nobody have been arrested until now. Complaints are arising from different campuses against the attacks with SFI in the forefront.
The police, however, continues to adopt an indifferent stance. Their earlier approach in the Kodinhi Faisal murder case and the stance of the prosecution so as to get bail easily for the culprits who are RSS supporters, have drawn flak. While a Muslim preacher was slapped with UAPA for hate speech, a Hindu speaker was imposed only with meagre charges for the same crime by the police force of Pinarayi Vijayan. At the same time, even those in the Left Front have condemned the police for taking quick actions in complaints filed by the Sangh Parivar. The Opposition have been hurling sharp criticisms against the Home Department within and outside the assembly. They might be driven by political motives. However, the Chief Minister and his government should be conducting an introspection on whether things are on the right track.