Protests against police gain momentum

Congress, BJP accuse the force of misogyny

Anti-Government protests over the “police apathy” to victims of crime, particularly women and children, seemed to escalate on Thursday.

Congress workers clashed with the police in Aluva, accusing the Circle Inspector of prompting the suicide of a dowry harassment victim by beating her in front of her in-laws in the local station house.

Mofiya Parveen, a law student, was found dead in her house the next day. Her “suicide note”, that damned the officer’s response to her grievance, arguably belied the pro-victim policing image actively promoted by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) Government.

It also did not help the Government that the officer had received a law and order posting despite drawing adverse remarks from superiors for “botching” the infamous Uthra dowry-related murder.

Indefinite stir

Congress leaders led by Benny Behanan, MP, are on an indefinite sit-in in front of the Aluva police station. Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president K. Sudhakaran and Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan demanded the officer’s prosecution. They also condemned the use of tear gas and water cannon against Congress workers.

The BJP also entered the fray with party State president K. Surendran visiting Mofiya’s house in Kochi and demanded justice for the law student.

He said the Government had conveniently transferred the officer to the police headquarters instead of prosecuting him. Mr. Vijayan lorded over law enforcement populated by criminals.

By a conservative estimate, at least 744 serving officers faced criminal charges, he said. Mr. Surendran said the BJP would unleash street protests for gender justice.

The Government had also faced BJP protests for allegedly “aiding PFI assailants responsible” for the murder of RSS activist Sanjith in Palakkad.

Mr. Surendran said the latest move to withdraw the case against CPI(M) goons accountable for the attack on the BJP State headquarters was another example of the police-party nexus.

Adoption row

The Congress and the BJP had held separate protests demanding the ouster of Child Welfare Committee general secretary J.S. Shiju Khan for allegedly putting up a child for adoption without the mother’s consent.

Late on Thursday, Congress workers organised a “night march” to highlight the “atrocities” against women and the “misogynist” attitude of the police and government. Mr. Sudhakaran inaugurated the protest.

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