Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 10 (PTI): Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday rejected the opposition charge of police atrocity in Attappady, one of the most backward tribal hamlets in the state, in connection with the recent arrest of a tribal chief and his son there over a case and said law enforcers had only tried to maintain rule of law.
When the opposition Congress-led UDF raised the issue in the state Assembly vehemently criticising the police action, the Chief Minister came out in support of the officers, saying it had been a trend now-a-days to propagate false and cooked-up stories against the force.
He reminded the opposition not to forget the contributions of the police force in relief and rescue operations when the natural calamities hit the state and also in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vijayan also rejected the opposition charge that the tribal chieftain and his son were taken by force by the police and the ruling CPI(M) was behind the act.
Detailing the pro-tribal initiatives of the government, he said an effective system has been put in place in the state to prevent atrocities against the community people and to provide them all necessary legal protection.
The police has been directed to probe into the complaints lodged by the members of the community at the earliest and register cases immediately, Vijayan said when the UDF opposition moved a notice for an adjournment motion over the issue during the zero hour.
"Police went to the hamlet to take action in connection with a complaint they received related to a crime. It was only a normal step taken by the police to maintain the rule of law," the Chief Minister justified.
Police on Sunday had arrested Choriyamooppan, chief of Vattalakki hamlet at Sholayur in the tribal belt of Attappady in Palakkad district and his son Murugan based on a complaint by their neighbour Kurunthachalam in connection with feeding of grass to the cow.
Local TV channels aired the visuals of the police personnel picking up the duo from its home despite protests by the other tribals.
The CM said the tribal chief and his son were not ready to go with the police and tried to resist arrest with the support of other tribals.
Five police personnel including a woman constable had suffered injuries during the incident, he added.
Justifying the police action and lavishing praised on the force, Vijayan said the police stand for the rule of law and for the protection of the life and property of people.
Besides this, the government had been able to transform the force into a system that stands by the people in all their hardships, he claimed.
"The groups, who are not interested in maintaining the rule of law in the land, are coming out against the police. Extremists, communal forces and anarchists are deliberately involved in this activity," the Left veteran alleged.
However, rejecting Vijayan's reply, Mannarkkad legislator N Shamsudheen (IUML) alleged that the police personnel had arrived at the tribal hamlet as if they were to catch terrorists.
The state police did not show this much enthusiasm to nab the culprits involved in the multi-crore Karavannur Co-operative bank scam, controlled by the ruling CPI(M), he alleged.
He also criticised the police for imposing hefty fines in the name of COVID-19 restrictions.
Criticising the government and the police over the issue, Opposition leader V D Satheesan said 'police raj' is prevailing in the state.
The UDF later staged a walkout in the House after Speaker M B Rajesh rejected leave for the motion. PTI LGK