Four days after the Kerala High Court pointed out that an eight-year-old girl and her father who were humiliated by a police officer at Attingal in Thiruvananthapuram district must be compensated by the government, the court has refused to accept the state's report. The state government's report claimed that the police officer who belonged to the 'Pink Patrol' meant to enhance safety of women, had not misbehaved or done anything that could have caused mental agony to the little girl. To substantiate it, statements of four witnesses were also produced before the court. The state also denied compensation to the child.
The incident occurred on August 27, when 38-year-old Jayachandran and his daughter were out on the main road in the outskirts near Attingal to watch the movement of a huge trailer carrying equipment to the ISRO unit. Suddenly Rejitha, the woman officer thought her mobile phone went missing, and accused Jayachandran who was standing near the police patrol vehicle, of stealing it. She even said that he must have passed the mobile to his eight-year-old daughter, his accomplice.
She publicly humiliated the father- daughter duo and threatened to take both of them to the nearby police station. This was witnessed by a large crowd. Later, Rejitha found the mobile phone in the vehicle. The entire episode was filmed by an onlooker, who shared it on social media and it went viral.
Despite the outrage over it, the Kerala government has taken a soft stance against the police officer and claimed that the child did not cry due to any 'humiliation', but because a crowd had gathered. The government however transferred the officer to Kollam, which is just 35 kilometres away from Attingal, as a 'punishment'.
On August 31, Jayachandran approached the state police chief Anil Kant seeking action against Rejitha, as his daughter was in a state of shock for being publicly admonished. Promising action, Kant asked South Zone IG Harshita Attaluri to conduct a probe and Rejitha was transferred. However, it was found out that Rejitha was transferred to a more convenient location. In September, the family observed a day-long sit-in in front of the Kerala Secretariat. When this also went unnoticed, the family approached the High Court.
The child's family alleges that the government is trying to protect the officer and denying the child her basic rights. Jayachandran told the media that they will go ahead with the case and that they have faith in the court.
On November 29, after watching visuals of the officer humiliating the child and her father, the court said her conduct indicated "pure ego and arrogance of khaki". Justice Devan Ramchandran also observed that the officer did not even bother to apologise to the child. A week later, the officer submitted a written apology to the High Court and said that she too had children at home.
But neither the child nor her parents were ready to accept the apology as the officer had apologised only because the court mentioned it.
The court was hearing a petition filed by the family seeking Rs 50 lakh compensation for the trauma the family faced. However, the court has observed that Rs 50 lakh cannot be provided as it is an exorbitant amount.
The government's latest report came in response to the court's notice. Hearing the statement given by the government in the court, Jayachandran said it's really surprising that they found four witnesses to testify that the police officer did not misbehave.
"Despite me knocking on all doors, till date, the police probe team has not taken a statement from my daughter or me, but they took statements from these 4 people. They are trying to protect this erring lady official and no one knows why the state government is spending so much money to protect her," Jayachandran said.