BJP's Sreedharan Pillai has written to the centre, to take action against the officer who had a verbal altercation with Central Minister Pon Radhakrishnan.

Why the Left in Kerala cannot really support police officer Yatish Chandra
news Sabarimala Thursday, November 22, 2018 - 18:36

In August 2017, he stood in front of a delegation of the Human Rights Commission, as a 7-year-old child pointed to him and said, “He hit me. I saw this uncle hit other people and they had to be hospitalised.” IPS officer Yatish Chandra, the then Deputy Commissioner of Police of Kochi City, faced a lot of heat for lathi charging those who had gathered at the High Court junction to protest against the opening of an LPG plant in Puthuvype. Today, he’s embroiled in another row.

Born in Davangere in Karnataka, and an officer from the Karnataka cadre, Yatish Chandra is no stranger to controversy. An officer who has attracted the ire of various political parties at different stages of his career for his penchant to use the lathi excessively, currently it is the Bharatiya Janata Party that wants the central government to take action against him.

BJP Kerala State President Sreedharan Pillai has written to Jitendra Singh, MoS for Personnel and Public Grievances, to take action against the officer who had told Central Minister Pon Radhakrishnan on Wednesday that a convoy of cars could not accompany him to Sabarimala. Yatish Chandra’s explanation, that private cars are not allowed for fear of landslides in the region, had led to a confrontation between BJP leaders and the officer. The police officer was unrelenting throughout the verbal altercation, and the minister got on a government bus to go to the temple with his supporters.

The BJP is also upset with the officer as he had played an instrumental role in arresting Hindu Aikya Vedi leader KP Sasikala and BJP General Secretary K Surendran. While both these leaders had claimed that they wanted to go to the temple to pray, police had denied them entry, alleging that they only wanted to cause trouble by gathering protesters.

Though the Pinarayi government has been silent on BJP’s accusations against the officer, the CPI(M) too has had its run ins with him. After Pinarayi Vijayan took oath as Chief Minister of Kerala, Yatish Chandra was one of the first officers to be transferred out.

The former software engineer who studied at the Visvesvaraya Technological University had been embroiled in a huge controversy after he lathicharged CPI(M) workers at Angamaly in March 2015. Fan pages were started for him on Facebook with many calling him ‘Singam’, the name of the movie in which Tamil actor Surya acts as a heroic police officer.

Yatish Chandra’s actions at Angamaly had earned him CPI(M)’s ire, with VS Achuthanandan likening him to a mad dog. Even Pinarayi Vijayan had then asked for his suspension.

In 2017, when Yatish charged at families protesting against the LGP plant, the visuals went viral, and many citizens took to social media to condemn the excessive action.

For the Pinarayi government however, the officer who the party has opposed in the past, has turned out to be just the man for the job. Someone who is not wary of even stopping a Central minister. But it is unlikely that Pinarayi would endorse the officer openly, as Yatish could use the baton on anyone again.

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