Police Harass Ordinary Citizens in Kerala, India

Jyoti Singh Pandey, the girl who fought for her life after a brutal rape which lead to her death, might turn out to be India’s own Susana Trimarco (the Argentinian mother who was the catalyst in changing human trafficking laws in Argentina).

In an interview with Zee news, Jyoti’s friend gave excruciating details about the ordeal on that horrific night, and how the police and administration in Delhi were slow to respond. Zee news was immediately slapped with a charge of disclosing identity and broadcasting the interview.

Among the G20 countries, India stands second worst for gender violence. It is not that Indian democracy lacks enough laws to protect its citizens, rather the lackadaisical attitude of the administration.

The Delhi case has activated many live discussions and the moral policing of the society. Societal character aside, what if the police harass the ordinary citizens instead of preventing such crimes? In Kerala, most recently there have been three such incidents that have been discussed in the social media.

Kerala Police Force – Image by Flickr user Karmadude. CC BY-SA.

Sharon Rani writes about her ordeal while visiting Kerala from Bhutan. She was spending an evening with a friend in the cosmopolitan city of Kochi in Kerala. On the pretext of questioning her whereabouts, police in mufti showered her with sexually explicit barrage of questions about her relationship with her friend and verbally harassed her.

Shahina Nafeesa replies to this article,

Bravo dear Sharon, Thx for sharing this nauseating experience.I know how precious time is for a person on holidays,yet I wish you would have dropped a written complaint to the IGP.I dont think the rule of law has the ultimate answers to all questions,but it would make an impact for law being the only tool for women who are struggling to negotiate with this mindless city..

In Mavelikkara, another town in Kerala, a similar incident was reported where the Kerala police questioned ten and sixteen year old girls inquiring them about their sexual activities. In fact, the kids were actually taken in for questioning about their parents alleged involvement with the banned Maoist party.

Madhu Soodanan says:

എന്തു ന്യായം പൊലീസിനും പട്ടാളത്തിനും പറയാനുണ്ടെങ്കിലും മനുഷ്യാവകാശ ലംഘനം നടത്താനവരെ അനുവദിയ്ക്കരുതു. നിങ്ങളുടെ രാഷ്ട്റീയ ശത്രുവിനു മേലിന്നു അതിക്രമം നടക്കുമ്പോൾ കണ്ണടച്ചാൽ നാളെ നിങ്ങളുടെ വാതിലും അവർ അർധരാത്രിയിൽ മുട്ടും.

Whatever reasons are there for the police or the military, human rights violations should not be allowed. If you close your eyes to such violations, tomorrow your door will be knocked at too.

Girish Kumar adds,

വനിതാ പോലീസിനെ കുറ്റം പറയേണ്ട. അവര് ഈ സംവിധാനത്തിന്റെ ഭാഗം. പുരുഷപേലീസിനെ പോലെ അധികാരത്തിന്റെ ഭാഗം. യഥാര്ഥത്തില് ഈ കുഞ്ഞുങ്ങളെ എന്തിനാണു പോലീസ് പിടിച്ചത്. ഇവരുടെ കൂടെ യോഗം ചേര്ന്നവര് മാവോയിസ്റ്റുകള് അത്രേ. ഇതു രുപേഷിനെയും ഷൈനയേയും പിടിക്കാന് മക്കളെ ജാമ്യക്കാരായി പിടിക്കുന്നതിന്റെ ഭാഗം തന്നെ. അതിനു മനുഷ്യാവകാശ ലംഘനംതന്നെ മാര്ഗം.

There is no point in blaming the female police officers. They are just part of the patriarchy in the system. Why did they question these kids? They were trying to track down their parents. For that, human rights violation is their only method.

It was also reported that a married couple in Alappuzha town was harassed by the police under similar circumstances.

Jai Krishnan asks,

പ്രായ പൂര്ത്തിയായവര്ക്ക് വിവാഹം ഇല്ലാതെ തന്നെ ഒരുമിച്ചു ജീവിക്കാന് ഭരണ ഘടന പ്രകാരം അവകാശമുള്ള ഈ നാട്ടില് , അത് കാമുകി കാമുകന് മാരാനെങ്കില് തന്നെ നടപടി എടുക്കാന് എന്ത് അവകാശമാണ് പോളിസിനുള്ളത്?

The constitutional law states that even unmarried couples can live together in this country, then even if they are not married, how can the police arrest them for being together?

If this is how the police force are trained to bring law and order to its citizens, will there be any visible signs of improvement in the society in the near future?

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