Police action sparks political furore
Achuthanandan writes to Chief Minister seeking a comprehensive probe
The police action at Puthuvype in Ernakulam district on Sunday has led to a
political furore, virtually putting the State government on the back foot,
a day after the great optimism the inauguration of Kochi metro generated in
terms of projecting a new image for investment-starved Kerala. Former Chief
Minister V.S. Achuthanandan’s sharp criticism of the police action on the
people of Puthuvype, a coastal hamlet off Kochi, agitating against an LPG
storage facility of the Indian Oil Corporation, has put the State
government in a spot.
‘Suspend police officer’
Throwing his weight behind the agitation, Mr. Achuthanandan wrote to Chief
Minister Pinarayi Vijayan asking him to order a comprehensive probe and
suspend Deputy Commissioner of Police Yatish Chandra G.H. from service.
“When an entire population of an area is on a course of agitation, the
government should sympathetically assess the situation irrespective of the
arguments for and against the project. It should be prepared to hold
discussions in a democratic manner. The people expect this of an LDF
government,” he said. The former Chief Minister also found fault with the
government for failing to fulfil the promises made by Fisheries Minister J.
Mercykutty Amma and felt that such matters required a second look. He
maintained that there was no justification for the police action,
particularly the conduct of the Mr. Chandra.
Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala also criticised the “primitive
manner” in which the police confronted the agitating people of Puthuvype.
He said he had brought up the Puthuvype issue when he met the Chief
Minister earlier in the day in connection with the grave situation
resulting from dengue. Mr. Chennithala said he had urged Mr. Vijayan not to
use force while tackling the popular agitation. “Popular agitations cannot
be suppressed with an iron hand,” he said. Former Chief Minister Oommen
Chandy’s site visit later in the evening appeared to have energised the
Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president M.M. Hassan said the police
action was the latest example of the government’s attempts to suppress
The Kerala Swatantra Matsya Thozhilali Federation and the National
Fishworkers Forum, while protesting against the police action, said that
the IOC facility was coming up in violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone.
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