Thrissur Pooram row: CM seeks EC nod to transfer two police officials

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the state police chief has been ordered to conduct a probe and submit a report, following which action will be taken.
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan
Kerala CM Pinarayi VijayanFile Photo
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The Kerala government, on Sunday, April 21, has recommended the transfers of two top police officials amidst public unrest and clashes during the Thrissur Pooram festival. 

A press statement said that the government has asked permission from the Election Commission to transfer Thrissur district police chief Ankit Asokan and Assistant commissioner Sudharshan with immediate effect. CM Pinarayi Vijayan has also directed the State Police Chief Shaik Darvesh Saheb to conduct an investigation into the complaints about police conduct during the Pooram.

Speaking to media persons, Pinarayi Vinayan said that a detailed investigation was needed to understand what transpired during the festivities. He stated that two complaints - from the Devaswom board and from mediapersons - have been filed regarding police conduct. Stating that there are restrictions on the state government to intervene due to elections, the Chief Minister said the state police chief has been ordered to conduct a probe and submit a report, following which action will be taken.

The Thrissur Pooram festival is known for its pompous celebration every year. This year, there was a delay in the iconic fireworks display and protests reported in the celebration. The issue began around 11 pm on April 19 after authorities imposed stringent measures on public access to Swaraj ground, the venue of the Pooram festivities. Tensions escalated due to the restricted entry and minor clashes were reported, resulting in the postponement of the scheduled nighttime fireworks to the following day at around 6 am. There were also allegations that even elephant processions, temple committee members, and panchavadyam (an orchestra of five instruments) artistes were blocked by the police.

United Democratic Front (UDF) candidate K Muraleedharan alleged that the clashes were a hidden agenda by the Union and state governments to sabotage the Pooram. National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate Suresh Gopi accused the CPI(M) of orchestrating disruptions for electoral gains. Left Democratic Front (LDF) candidate VS Sunil Kumar blamed the police for mishandling the situation.

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