Probe moots action against police
An internal inquiry conducted into the alleged manhandling of four minor boys in Kattakada two days ago has recommended disciplinary action against the police officers who were involved in the incident.
Sanjaykumar Gurudin, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Thiruvananthapuram Range, forwarded his recommendation along with the inquiry report to Harshita Attalluri, Inspector General of Police, South Zone, for further action.
The inquiry by Kattakada Deputy Superintendent of Police (Dy.SP) S. Shaji was instituted after four Plus One students alleged they were manhandled by the police near a temple in Anjuthenginmoodu on Monday. They had claimed to have been attending an online class on a mobile phone while they were purportedly assaulted.
The probe noted the local police used to receive complaints from local residents about a group of youngsters who regularly gathered on the temple premises to watch movies and smoke. While the police had made previous attempts to rein in such practices, especially during the lockdown, the gang used to evade prosecution by fleeing at the sight of officers approaching them.
On the day of the incident, the police received a complaint and subsequently a team, led by the Kattakada station house officer (SHO) Jose Mathew and comprising a sub-inspectors and four others, rounded up the suspects by coming in two jeeps from different access routes that led to the temple premises.
The inquiry officer stated that there was “minimum use of force” when the youngsters resisted the officers’ attempts to taken them into custody. They could have suffered injuries in the melee.
Nonetheless, the police officers were found to have committed lapses in handling the issue. Adequate precaution was not adopted in securing the custody of the minor boys. The controversy brought bad name to the police, the report concluded.
While the police had initially alleged that the youngsters used to smoke ganja, the report made no such mention. The findings also did not include the alleged use of a cable which, the students claimed, was used to assault them.
Child rights panel
The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, which had formally registered a suo moto case in connection with the incident a day ago, served notice on the State Police Chief, District Police Chief (Thiruvananthapuram Rural) and the Kattakada SHO on Wednesday. They have been directed to submit inquiry reports within 15 days.
Commission chairman K.V. Manoj Kumar said he had recorded the statements of the purported victims and took cognisance of the visible bruise marks on their backs. On inspecting the jeep of the Kattakada police, he had also found a black cable that was allegedly used to assault the youngsters.