Since 16 May 2016, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has also been the home minister of Kerala. It is he who has now made a grouse at a meeting of top police officers including DGP Loknath Behra, that Kerala police has betrayed the state government to RSS, criticised that what was enforced in Sabarimala was not the intent of the government, but that of sangh parivar.
It is he who has confessed that the police action in Sabarimala complicated the problem and police overzealously passed the microphone to RSS leaders. It is the same chief minister who complains that files were getting leaked before they reached the department and many were able to get their copies. Given this, let us ask the chief minister what he asked the police force: 'Can you say with hands on your chest that action will be taken against the police personnel who betrayed government decisions, and who presided over the torpedoing of the left government's policies?'
In the dark era when communal polarization is being intensified in the state, and when sangh parivar is making planned programmes for inflaming communal hatred, what secular Kerala yearns for is not a chief minister who laments that police has been made pro-RSS, but a popular leader with the grit and determination to cleanse the police force. Pinarayi Vijayan is a political leader with the gravity and stamina for that. But over the last three years of its term, for some reason the government has been failing repeatedly in setting the police house in order. As early as in October 2017, Madhyamam had released a report that the RSS-BJP sympathisers in Kerala police had held a clandestine meeting in Kanyakumari and decided to revive their cell which had been lying inative. On that basis, DGP Loknath Behera ordered a probe into the activities of the RSS cell and entrusted the then Intelligence chief Mohammed Yasin with the enquiry. But then, is it that the chief minister is not aware of whopushed under the carpet in home ministry, his recommendation that action should be taken against those attended the clandestine meeting, or is it that the chief minister just stops short of disclosing who they were?
That RSS is active in Kerala police was pointed out by Kodiyeri Balakrishnan also at the last state conference of CPM. Himself a former home minister, he has also said in public that ten per cent of police force are RSS sympathisers and their actions were in line with RSS interests. And LDF coalition partner, CPI had expressed cocern over the increase in pro-RSS elements at IPS level in the state's police police, even after the Pinarayi government completed two years in office. Again, the chief minister himself had raised a complaint on the Kerala Police formation day that there were attempts within the force to create communal divide. He also declared that the tendency to isolate and attack officers in the name of religion and caste, would be dealt with seriously. Subsequently, an intelligence report was received at the police headqurters that interference by sangh parivar elements was creating communal polarization in many police stations and this move was led by high police bosses. Even after all this, there have not been any official-level actions or cleansing process. Paradoxically enough the chief minister is repeatedly bemoaning that sangh parivar are gaining strength in the police force, when there is a rule that only one recognized, apolitical staff organization will be allowed in the police department.
The sense of justice and impartial approach of the law and order machinery is of critical in ensuring security of the people. That a police force that is infested with communalism and racial prejudices, will never function with fairness is easily vouched for by the role played by police in the communal riots of many other states. Criticisms about the partisan approach adopted by Kerala police also, have been raised with several examples that support the blame: Riyaz Moulavi murder in Kasargode, Kodinhi Faisal murder, Hadiya case, torture in 'gharvapasi' centre in Tripunithura, the discrimination in applying, and making arrests under Section 153 of IPC against spreading religious hatred – all reflecting the communal interests and racial prejudices influencing Kerala police. In short, what is in display are approaches never expected from Kerala as a state ruled by a left-wing government. The chief minister's statements tantamoount to revealing that sangh parivar sleeping cells are active in Kerala police to such an extent as to overturn government decisions. What a communalized police bodes for Kerala is not a pleasant future. The powers vested with the chief minister also contains the last opportunities to resist ward off that eventuality. And what secular Kerala expects from him are firm and authentic steps to achieve that end.