The Cochin Devaswom withdrew their request for 'Hindu policemen' to be stationed on duty during a festival, following complaints from the police association in the state.
On January 23, the Cochin Devaswom requested the Ernakulam City Police Commissioner to deploy 'Hindu policemen' and women police inside the Shiva Subramaniya temple in Vytilla during its Thaipooyam festival to be held on February 8.
"As a mobility hubs have cropped up in front of the temple, the traffic has increased here. We request Hindu police officers and women police officers to be stationed here during the festival to regulate the traffic and ensure its smooth flow as well as maintain law and order due to scores of kavadi processions that will take place during the festival," a letter from the Assistant Commissioner of Cochin Devaswom, Thrippunithura group to the Ernakulam police chief and SI of Maradu read.
The Cochin Devaswom Board is a socio-religious trust appointed by the Kerala Government to look after Hindu temples in central Kerala, consisting of Ernakulam, Thrissur and Palakkad districts.
Soon after the letter was received, the police association approached Devaswom Minister Kadakkampally Surendran with a complaint. The complaint reportedly requested police officers to be deployed on duty at holy places without discriminating them on the basis of religion and caste. A complaint was also submitted to the Ernakulam City Police Commissioner.
Following the controversy, the Cochin Devaswom withdrew their request. On January 25, another letter from the assistant commission was sent to the Ernakulam City Police Commissioner, this time with the word 'Hindu' missing.
According to Mathrubhumi, the Assistant Commissioner stated that requests were usually made in this manner and that a fresh letter was submitted following the controversy and complaints from police association.