A photograph showing a plainclothes officer holding the collar of Devaraj’s brother has evoked vehement protests.

Controversy erupts after Kerala cop misbehaves with slain maoists brother at funeralPhoto Courtesy: Facebook
news Maoist Encounter Sunday, December 11, 2016 - 17:46

The Kerala police have come under fire over a photograph going viral on social media, which shows an officer plain clothes holding the collar of the slain Maoist leader Kuppu Devaraj’s brother.

The photograph was reportedly taken on Friday in Kozhikode, when a group of people had gathered around the Devaraj’s body to pay their last respects to the Maoist leader.

The photograph shows Devaraj’s mother and his brother Sreedharan, with a number of police personnel next to them. A man dressed in civilian clothes is holding Sreedharan’s collar and pointing a finger at him, while Devaraj’s mother looks perturbed.

The photograph of the incident has gone viral on social media, and with the plainclothes police officer being recognised as the Assistant Commissioner (Special Branch) PM Premadasan, rights activists have come down heavily on the police force. 

Advocate PA Pouran, Secretary of the People Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) told The News Minute that he will approach Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on the issue, and also file a complaint with the Kerala Police Complaint Authority, demanding action against the officer. 

"I heard a former senior cop defending the action on a television channel, saying that what Premadasan did was only a friendly pat. Habits die hard for the Kerala police. Pinarayi Vijayan just proved that there is no difference between his police force or that of former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy," Advocate Pouran said. 

Other human rights organisations, however, are not convinced that approaching the Chief Minister would give a concrete resolution to the issue.

Secretary of the Janathipathya Manushyavakasa Prathanam, Thushar Nirmal Sarathy, said, "What we demand is that the officer be brought before the law. He has committed a crime by acting so during Devaraj's funeral. Any disciplinary action of suspending him will not change anything. We will soon file a criminal case against the officer."

Kuppu Devaraj, a central committee member of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), was killed in an encounter with the police in Nilambur a few weeks ago along with another comrade, Ajitha. 

With allegations being made that the encounter was faked, there has been growing anger against the police force from some sections of people.

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