“When you see us as enemies and attack us, there is one thing you forget. We are the same police that had strictly stopped the entry of young women before the order came,” Sinu wrote.

Were not the enemy Kerala cop defends police over Sabarimala standoff
news Police Monday, November 19, 2018 - 17:56

In the last two months, there has been a lot of debate, anger and frustration around Sabarimala – not just about women previously barred from entering the temple suddenly being allowed to do so, but about the violence, the push and pull between people and parties. Amidst the protests and violence, one group of people who have faced a lot of flak from all sides is the Kerala police. Now, a few policeman have decided to take to Facebook to tell their side of the story.

Sinu Chandran, a Civil Police Officer according to his Facebook profile, put up a long post questioning the criticism being faced by the police. Sharing a photo of policemen sleeping on the ground, he said, that policemen like him leave their homes at least ten days ahead of the Sabarimala season every year. There is no lathi or shield with them those days, or even name plates and shoulder badges which could injure the devotees coming to the temple.

“You never saw all that then, but you see it all now. When we try to implement the orders of the Supreme Court, you take note of our religion and caste,” he wrote.

“When you see us as enemies and attack us, there is one thing you forget. We are the same police that had strictly stopped the entry of young women before the order came. You have no idea how many young women we have sent back from behind the Pamba Ganapathy Temple, after monitoring day and night. Till now we were the protectors of tradition, not the others you see today. Today we are obliged to obey and implement the court order. Do not see us as your enemies,” Sinu wrote.

Former DGP Jacob Punnoose posted pictures of policemen lying on the road at 2 in the night and captioned it “When helmets are pillows and riot shields become beds.” He wrote: “Have we ever slept on a pavement or on a road? These policemen at Pathanamthitta district tonight, are tired out by day long duty, stretching further far into the night. Battling against fatigue, they fall by the wayside to catch a nap before the next call for duty; they have neither nests nor dens; the cosy comforts of home and hearth are not for them!”

“As the world sleeps, they convert shields into beds and helmets into pillows. Let us spare a thought for these heroes who fight for peace – and do not have even the luxury of a pavement to sleep on. Let us hope their labours are not in vain; that peace and good sense will prevail. Let us also remember the hardships that the vast majority of them undergo when we malign them as a whole for the faults of a few. My salutes to these sleeping cops! They take a well earned rest on the rough road as we snuggle in our cosy beds!!” he added.

The police force in Kerala has faced a lot of anger from the people on all sides; those supporting women’s entry have criticised the police for not providing enough protection to women; those opposing women’s entry have accused the police of standing against tradition and beliefs. The police had escorted the few women who wanted to enter the temple, and escorted them back when the crowds got too unruly.

When troublemakers at the temple were identified through CCTV cameras, the police arrested them – and the police has been accused of excess in the process. Arrests of right wing leaders like KP Sasikala and K Surendran, when they tried to climb the hill defying police curfew, also fuelled anger. A hartal was observed by right wing groups on Sunday, and on Sunday night, the police arrested scores of people including RSS workers for defying prohibitory orders and entering the Sannidhanam.

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