When B. Sandhya, Additional Director General of Police, wrote a poem, she would not have expected the kind of response it generated. The poem was perceived as a thinly veiled criticism of the government and the police. The establishment frowned on the literary piece and there were calls for action against Ms. Sandhya.
But Sen Kumar, ADGP, seems to have hit the target with his reaction to the recent incident involving actor Kalabhavan Mani. Mr. Kumar’s remark on the disparity in police action involving people of different strata of society and the alleged bias against the actor triggered the response he might have expected.
The speech, which Mr. Sen Kumar later said was quoted out of context in media reports, has been received with much resentment by the force. It has also triggered a flurry of discussions and debates in social circles, especially among online communities.
Police officers in different ranks, some unwilling to be named, said it was a mistake on the part of Mr. Sen Kumar to have made the remarks. Unlike forces in other States, all sections and communities of the society have been fairly represented in the Kerala police, they said.
“The system in the State police has been evolved over many years and I can say that there is no discrimination on the basis of caste or religion here,” said K.S. Balasubramanian, State police chief.
Mr. Sen Kumar’s remarks meant either that the image of a force with social justice ingrained in its soul was false or that the officer was frustrated with his career, said a senior police officer. “And I don’t think the first one is true,” the officer added.
Another police officer said higher authorities should, without waiting for a complaint to be registered, initiate disciplinary action against Mr. Sen Kumar. “What he said is totally against the spirit of the force, of which he is also a part. If the situation was bad, he should have also said what he had done to rectify it,” the officer said.
Those who have objected to Mr. Sen Kumar’s remarks also pointed out that the authorities had lost no time in asking Ms. Sandhya for an explanation for the alleged derogatory remarks in her poem. However, the delay in seeking an explanation from Mr. Sen Kumar was understandable, said P.C. Cyriac, former bureaucrat. “The poem is there in black and white, whereas there are only media reports about the speech. Exact details about the speech that was made need to be collected before any action is taken. But then, this particular speech need only be considered as advice from a senior officer to his subordinates,” said Mr. Cyriac, former Chief Secretary, Tamil Nadu.
Mr. Sen Kumar had made the controversial remarks while he was addressing the State conference of the Kerala Police Association. “The association is supposed to be apolitical and its meeting not a public meeting. So whatever Sen Kumar has said can be treated as a sort of introspection within the force,” said D. Babu Paul, former Chief Secretary.
Mr. Sen Kumar’s remarks were met with resentment from within the police force.