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Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Pinarayi in the dock

Police action against a mother seeking justice for her dead son has sparked deserved outrage. CPM government must answer

By: Editorial |
April 7, 2017 12:06:34 am
Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, Jishnu Pranoy, Jishnu Pranoy death, Jishnu Pranoy death Case, Jishnu Pranoy Kerala, Vijayan Kerala, Kerala government, kerala news, india news, indian express news The Vijayan government’s response in the Jishnu case has been far from satisfactory. (Representational photo)

She was a mother seeking justice for her dead son. But for the personnel standing guard at the state police chief’s office in Thiruvananthapuram, she was a mere intruder, who dared to protest in front of their boss. In no time, she was dragged along the road and into a police vehicle and, only later, admitted to a hospital. The episode, streamed live on television screens across Kerala, will haunt the Pinarayi Vijayan government for a long time. Chief Minister Vijayan has since justified the police behaviour and, worse, indicated that he will not meet the mother, Mahija, whose son, Jishnu Pranoy, an engineering student with a private college in Kerala, was found dead three months ago in controversial circumstances. Vijayan’s remarks reek of arrogance and his conduct is unbecoming of a chief minister.

The Vijayan government’s response in the Jishnu case has been far from satisfactory. The police has been slow to react to his family’s demand that the circumstances in which the young man committed suicide must be investigated. The college authorities have been accused of physically assaulting Jishnu for questioning the management’s actions, before he took his own life. Indeed, the FIR mentions that the college chairman, vice-principal and the PRO among others, were involved in an alleged conspiracy to accuse and shame Jishnu on the charge of copying in the examination. However, the first arrests in the case — on charges of abetment to suicide — were made only on Wednesday, after extended protests by students. The police has been slow or reluctant to take action in other sensitive cases such as the rape and murder of children in Kollam and Palakkad. The unease about the conduct of the state police is no more restricted to the general public or the Opposition. For instance, the CPI, an LDF constituent, has publically censured the police more than once.

The wide-spread outrage in the state over the assault on Mahija, which ironically happened on the day that marked 60 years of the first elected communist government, should serve as a wake-up call to the CPM-led government. The CPM has been in the forefront of mass movements that demanded action in the 2012 Delhi gangrape case and Rohith Vemula’s suicide. It can ill afford to appear cavalier and unresponsive in similar cases in a state under its watch.

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