25 January, 2021

Politicisation Tarnishes Efficient Image Of Kerala Police: How Absurd Can It Get

Over the past couple of years, activists say, a series of high-profile cases—running the gamut from suspected electoral fraud and false FIRs to unlawful detention, torture and alleged extrajudicial killings—point to a nexus between political leaders of all ideological hues and the police.

Politicisation Tarnishes Efficient Image Of Kerala Police: How Absurd Can It Get

The effort is to rehabilitate the image of Kerala Police, projecting them as a modern, ‘humane’, efficient, techno-proficient force. But it is their representation as blunt, unsubtle instruments of power and authority – of the “give me five minutes alone with the suspect” sort – that endures in public memory. For all the Cyberdomes and community policing, a steady diet of custodial deaths and alleged third-degree interrogations in recent years has only reinforced this impression. As has the instinct to rely on such time-honoured crowd-dispersal techniques as the lathi charge and water cannon.

The churn between these diametrically opposed impulses has, human rights activists contend, brought to the surface hints to a deeper malaise. “Instances of police brutality or custody deaths are often conveniently attributed to errors of judgment, flawed training or as the work of ‘a few’ rotten apples, but such analyses miss the point,” says Preetha K.K., an advocate with the Kochi chapter of Human Rights Law Network (HRLN),...



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