Amid the stringent regulations in place to battle COVID-19 in the state, a 33-year-old youth residing in Ernakulam district, has alleged that police personnel from the Munambam Station under the Ernakulam Rural Police, harassed him for removing his face mask. The youth has alleged that the police officers used abusive language, forcefully dragged him to the police station and threatened him.
As part of the COVID-19 protocol, people are directed to compulsorily wear face masks in public spaces. Though instances of protocol violation can get one booked by the police under Kerala Epidemic Diseases Ordinance 2020, the youth named Vaishak TK, has alleged that he was harassed unnecessarily by the police. Aggrieved by the incident, the youth who works in a resort in Cherai, has filed a complaint with the District Police Chief and the State Police Chief.
According to Vaishak, the incident happened on April 16 when he was going back to his work place near Cherai Beach, after having lunch from a nearby restaurant. Vaishak was allegedly intercepted by the police officials while he had lowered his mask to make a phone call, he says.
â€śWhen they asked about my whereabouts, I said Iâ€™m a native of Kozhikode and that I work here. When they heard Kozhikode, the Sub Inspector raised his voice asking why I was roaming around without masks after coming from Kozhikode and used very bad and abusive words against my mother. Though I asked them not to abuse my mother and said that they can fine me for violating protocol, I was forcefully taken to the police station,â€ť alleges Vaishak.
The youth further alleged that, following the incident, police officials called his employer and threatened him.
â€śBasically, I think police officers thought I would keep mum when I was abused. Why did they have to use swear words against my mother for this and despite telling them not to do that, they continued to do the same. When my friend called the police and asked if this is the way police under Pinarayi (Chief Minister) functions, another police officer again abused us,â€ť he says.
Though Vaishak was let off by the police after granting bail the same day, he alleged that on the same night, some miscreants broke into the resort where he works and created a ruckus asking for his whereabouts.
Reacting to the issue, Ernakulam Rural District Police Chief (DPC) K Karthick stated that he has received the youthâ€™s complaint and that it is being looked into. â€śThe police are directed to behave politely with the public. If there are complaints against their behaviour, it will be looked into seriously,â€ť said the DPC.