Special Correspondent

August 11 meeting to work out the course of agitation

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Ramesh Chennithala has criticised the Left Democratic Front (LDF) Government for its gross inefficiency and inaction in arresting the trend of custodial deaths and police excesses in the State.

The Congress will launch a massive agitation against the excesses, giving up its earlier decision to allow the Government a six-month grace period.

Addressing a press conference here on Monday in the backdrop of another alleged custodial death reported from Kozhikode, Mr. Chennithala said police stations had become torture centres and had become out of bounds to the common man.

He said the Government was trying to trivialise the recent custodial deaths by attributing them to ailments that the undertrails had. "Are the prisons and police cells afflicted by contagious diseases" Mr. Chennithala asked.

He said that after the LDF came to power, the administration had lost control over the police. Criminal elements in the police force appear to have become more confident.

Instead of weeding out such elements, the Government, through its inaction, is giving a free play to them.

The Home Minister has not reacted to the 10 custodial deaths that took place in the last one month.

He seems to be more involved in running the Tourism Department, while the Chief Minister expresses his helplessness at the spate of custodial deaths.

Mr. Chennithala said that most of the persons who had died in custodial or other deaths involving the police were poor people or Dalits. The Home Minister has proved himself incapable of running his department. The Government has ordered inquiries by the District Collectors concerned into the custodial deaths instead of a comprehensive judicial inquiry.