The Commission has summoned DCP Yatish Chandra on July 17.

State Human Rights Commission pulls up Kerala cop over lathicharge on protesters in Puthuvype
news Human Rights Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - 18:32

The Kerala police received much criticism following the lathicharge on hundreds of people protesting against the construction of an LPG terminal in Kochi's Puthuvype last week.  

With several protesters including women and children sustaining injuries in the lathicharge, the action led by Kochi DCP Yatish Chandra was widely condemned by human rights activists and the media alike. 

On Tuesday, the Kerala State Human Rights Commission pulled up the senior police official and summoned DCP Yaathish Chandra to appear before it on July 17 and furnish an explanation on the police action.

The police team led by Yatish Chandra had resorted to lathicharge on two occasions- once on June 16 when residents had gathered in front of the Kerala High Court and the next day when they tried to enter the IOC plant. 

Condemning the police action, Commission Chairman P Mohandas told mediapersons that the police had erred in lathicharging the protesters. 

"The police does not have the right to punish anyone, that is something the judiciary does," Mohandas hit out. 

The Commission Chairman also said that the manner in which the senior police officials tried to justify the police brutality was "not acceptable".

With the lathicharge taking place on the same day Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Kochi to inaugurate Kerala's first metro service, Director General of Police (DGP) TP Senkumar had justified the police brutality noting that the PM had faced a terror threat. Dispersing the Puthuvype protesters should be viewed in this backdrop, Senkumar had argued. 

"They (the protesters), all of a sudden, tried to create trouble on the route the Prime Minister's motorcade was to take (on June 17). The Special Protection Group (SPG) and other security agencies were conducting a trial run through the route,” the DGP had said. 

The top police official also said that external elements were influencing the Puthuvype protests and residents had started a protest without any intimation. 

However, when TNM reached out to the protesters, several of those who were injured in the lathicharge, they said that they were also assaulted by the police after they were detained. 

The protesters said that the police denied them food and access to the toilet for the two days they were detained at the AR police camp. 

“We were not allowed to use the toilet, even though there were women who were on their period with us. When they did not allow us (to use the toilet) after repeated requests, we used a shawl to cover up, but they forcefully removed the shawl. Some of the police officers even shot videos and took photos of us while we urinated,” alleged Latha, one of the arrested protesters. 

Read: PM Modi faced terror threats during his visit to Kerala, says state police chief