Called against police ‘excesses’ near Adoor
People say mafia enjoys patronage of political parties
Police say action was to curb illegal games during fete
PATHANAMTHITTA: The hartal observed under the banner of ‘devotees’ at Enadimangalam near Adoor in Pathanamthitta district on Sunday, alleging police excesses at a local temple precincts, has drawn criticism from various quarters.
Talking to The Hindu on the issue, many local people alleged that “policing has become a difficult task here owing to the hurdles posed by the agents of spirit, sand and land mafia who enjoy patronage of a section of the ruling and Opposition parties”.
The hartal was called to protest against the alleged police action led by Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) P.Prakash in the vicinity of Bhoothamkara Sastha Temple at Enadimangalam on Saturday night. The hartal-supporters alleged that the ASP assaulted certain temple committee members.
The ASP said the police action was to curb illegal games like gambling, ring-throwing, etc, in the temple vicinity during the annual festival and the allegations of police assault on the temple committee members were not true.
Denying police action on the committee members, temple committee secretary Sankara Pillai said that the action might have been against the unlawful activities at certain shops in the temple vicinity.
Mr. Pillai said the ‘arat’ ceremony was completed braving heavy rain and the temple was closed by 11 p.m. By 11.30 p.m., it was announced that the cultural programmes in connection with the festival were being cancelled due to the rain.
He clarified that the temple committee never called for hartal on Sunday . He said the committee had not filed any complaint against the ASP or any other official. Mr. Pillai complained of rampant illicit liquor trade in the locality during the festival period.
Many local people alleged that the spirit and the land mafia had taken it as a chance to wage a proxy war against the ASP who was a threat to their ‘illegal’ activities for the past few months.
The protestors retreated from the road blockade on Sunday only after a reported assurance from Revenue Divisional Officer N.Mahesan that Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan would conduct an inquiry into the incident by Inspector-General of Police Arun Kumar Sinha soon.
Many senor police officials in the district opined that “succumbing to the pressure of mafia groups without understanding the ground reality, would only demoralise the law and order machinery”.
District Superintendent of Police K.G. James said the police did not receive any complaint against any police official in Adoor in connection with Saturday night’s combing operations at Enadimangalam.
The police officer said that the police registered a case, besides arresting a few persons, in connection with the incident.