Social media has been abuzz with criticisms ever since a picture of a police official squatting over a Youth Congress worker surfaced. In the picture, reportedly clicked by Manorama News, a police official can be seen pinning the man, identified as Antony, to the ground in order to allow Kerala Higher Education Minister KT Jaleel's convoy to pass through. The incident took place on Sunday evening in Kochi.
Many social media users termed it police brutality, while some equated the scene with the unfortunate incident of George Floyd, a black American man, who was killed in Minneapolis during an arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit bill. In the incident, Derek Chauvin, a white policeman, knelt on Floydâs neck for a few minutes, which eventually caused his death. Many others have disagreed and said such a comparison was unwarranted.
A group of Youth Congress workers took to the streets on Sunday evening and protested against Jaleel demanding his resignation after he was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the gold smuggling case. As protesters blocked Jaleelâs convey in the middle of a highway in Kochi and waved black flags, the policemen could be seen moving them away as the traffic was also being held up.
While some protesters were chased away by the police manning the roads, Antony fell down and when he was trying to get up, a police officer saw to it, he was pinned to the ground, till Jaleel's convoy passed. Even after the convoy, the police official could be seen squatting over him. It was only after Antony's colleagues came rushing towards him that the official let go of Antony.
Similar protests took place along the road as Jaleelâs convoy passed by and the workers waved black flags at him. In one of the visuals, Jaleel could be seen waving at the cameras and protesters.
Watch: Protesters wave black flags at KT Jaleel's convoy at various locations on Sunday
State Congress vice-president and two-time former legislator PC Vishnunadh said it was indeed shameful for the Kerala police for what happened. "Just see the cruelty that was shown to one of our young activist Antony, who turned into a victim of police high-handedness, as literally a replay of what happened in the US was played out," said Vishnunadh.
Young Congress legislator VT Balram also took to his Facebook page and posted the picture with the caption, 'Citizen and Pinarayi government'.
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(With inputs from PTI)