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Fort Kochi police face public ire

Alleged assault on youngsters near Customs Jetty

Discontent is brewing against the Fort Kochi police for the alleged assault on a group of youngsters in a ground near Customs Jetty on Sunday evening.

Five youngsters were injured in the alleged assault, and they are undergoing treatment at two different hospitals.

While the victims alleged that they were mercilessly beaten up by a five-member police team for having assembled for playing cricket, the police termed it an unlawful assembly and said that the youths might have sustained injuries while attempting to flee.

“The youngsters had assembled in violation of Section 144 and could have been charged accordingly but were instead brutally assaulted using wooden planks,” alleged Aneesh Mattancherry, a social activist who warned of further protests unless action was taken against the guilty.

Shameer K.S., a local resident whose younger brother was injured in the incident, said the youngsters had no history of anti-social activities, and that the police had beaten them up with little warning. He added that one of them was seriously injured above his eye and accused Sunil Kumar, a civil police officer, of being particularly nasty.

Fort Kochi Station House Officer G.B. Manuraj said the place was a hub of anti-social elements. He added that the youngsters had sustained injuries while trying to flee the police, though two cops armed with bamboo canes had charged them beneath their knees while they were on the run. “The seriously injured person had admitted in the hospital to have suffered injuries on jumping off a high wall in his attempt to flee. They also damaged the police vehicle,” said Mr. Manuraj, who also defended Sunil Kumar as a no-nonsense cop attached to the special operations group who, despite being a local resident, acted impartially against fellow residents engaged in drug deals and was hence disliked.

The police have registered two separate cases against those who assembled at the ground and then laid siege to the station later, invoking charges of unlawful assembly, rioting, violation of 144, Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, and Kerala Epidemic Diseases Ordinance.

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