The social milieu of Kerala is undergoing tragic changes over the past few years. The state has become a symbol for unquestionable authority. With the Pinarayi government completing two years in Kerala, many cases of custodial deaths and honor killings are reported from all over the state.
The Chief Minister of the state, Pinarayi Vijayan has been in the news right from the beginning of his term, with his indifferent attitude to the media. And to add to that, is the violence of his police over the lives of the common man. And the portfolio of the Home Department is with the Chief Minister.
For the past few months, Kerala has been witnessing waves of intolerance that is being carried out in light of the negligence of the police force and the government of Kerala. And in some case they became the perpetrators.
Intolerance seems to have crept into the young brains of Kerala. Till a few years back this honor killing and intolerance was foregin to Kerala, but the recent case of Athira from Malappuram, (who was killed by her own father for the crime of falling in live with a boy of a different caste) and Hadiya, (who embraced Islam and married a muslim boy and hounded by her family and authorities for months due to it) clearly shows the extent intolerance has grown in our society.
The growing acceptance of this can be traced to the growing acceptance for rightist forces in Southern India over the past few years. The glare is also on the notorious indifference. people of Kerala are famous for. Always quick to criticize sitting on a sofa, sipping a glass of chai. But when time comes to react, they do not. For them, it is happening in someone else’s house. Well, the party is in your front lawn now.
The rightist parties have successfully established caste intolerance in the young minds of Kerala. Contradictory to what was believed, recent incidents shows that the youths are more caste-religious-gender conscious than their previous generation. The verbal and physical violence showered on transgenders by police in recent cases reported from Kochi too makes the arrogant attitude of Kerala police direct and clear.
The recent case of Kevin, who was kidnapped by his disgruntled in- laws and lost his life due to the negligence of the police, is the latest to add to the list. Although the missing of Kevin was reported to the nearby police station on Sunday morning, the police refused to register any case or to take any action. On Monday the mangled body of Kevin was found (quite possibly murdered heinously) in the nearby river with serious injuries and wounds. The lax attitude of the police has resulted in the death of a young man.
The apprehension (on false pretenses) and custodial death of an innocent man Sreejith in Vaarapuzha, Kochi led to many protests in the state and the government was forced to take action against the officers responsible. Sreejith was picked up by the police and mercilessly tortured to death. The police had not even checked if he was the man they were looking for and it ended up as a case of mistaken identity. The police was not even listening to informers when they were told that this was not the man wanted. Instead, they decided to thrash him mercilessly until he succumbed to injuries. This has been the height of responsibility, the police of the state has of late.
Another Sreejith has been on a hunger strike in front of the state secretariat since months, demanding justice for his brother, who died in police custody. But the hue and cry of the media and the people associated with the case seems to be falling on deaf ears as the sitting government continues to ignore the situation completely. They are acting as though the people crying for justice are invisible. When was the constitution of India amended to give the power of the judge, jury and executioner to the Kerala state police?
The state has failed to ensure “safety to the life and property of citizens”. Instead the authorities responsible for ensuring safety of the citizens have become the merciless marauders causing terror. The actions taken by the government seems too little too late. What is the government doing to prevent another such incident from happening? Or are they willingly shutting their eyes to the horrors faced by the people of Kerala?