Did the members of the Kerala Police Association, the lone organsiation for police personnel in the state, offer salutes to Left martyrs during the inauguration of a district conference?
A video aired by Manorama News shows members of the Association offering salute to martyrs prior to commencement of its Ernakulam district conference.
“Salute, salute, 1000 salute to martyrs, martyrs won’t die, they live through us,” the members can be heard shouting, all gathered near a martyrs' column.
Majority of the police personnel in the state are members of the association and many of the members in turn are affiliated to the Left parties especially to the CPI (M).
Earlier at the State Conference of the Police Officers Association, consisting of officers from the Circle Inspector to Assistant Commissioner rank in the force, 15 members had come wearing red shirts. Then too, the association had faced criticism for openly flaunting its affinity to the ruling party.
However Police Association office bearers refuted allegations that they had offered salutes to CPI (M) martyrs.
“We offered salute to the police personnel who died in the past, not to martyrs of any political party. In the initial days the association had to struggle much to declare independence from the military, and at that time several police personnel lost their lives in the fight. Unlike other employees’ orgnisations, we have limited freedom. Offering salute to martyrs is a practice we have followed for long, from the time these conferences started. Now it is being portrayed as something new,” Ernakulam district secretary of the association, Nishad NV told TNM.
He added, “At the state conference in Kottayam, the colour of the shirt the representatives from Kannur wore was maroon not red,”.
Earlier when the police force’s affinity towards the Left became a point of discussion, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said that police support was not needed for the government's political strength.