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Rush hour vii: The poll-ice saga


Police forces on election duty go berserk in Karnataka
CHITRA KARKERA | Issue Dated: May 24, 2009
Tags : Karnataka | Shrirangapatna | Dharmasthala | testimony | Kerala | Andhra Pradesh | Dakshin Kannada | pilgrimage | Shree Kshethra Dharmasthala | election | Aithappa | assaulting | Mangalore | Superintendent | Police | Subrahmanya Rao | permission | investigations | misbehaving | uniform |
Rush hour vii: The poll-ice saga Incidents of cops taking law into their hands are on the rise in Karnataka. Recent incidents in Shrirangapatna and Dharmasthala stand testimony to this police high handedness – of forces both within and outside the state.

On April 27, the Kerala police on election duty in Karnataka walked into a local temple in Shrirangapatna. After a skirmish over a relatively minor incident, the police force attacked local shops and beat up residents injuring three of them.

On May 1, another police force from Andhra Pradesh replicated the incident at Dakshin Kannada’s famous pilgrimage centre, Shree Kshethra Dharmasthala. The visiting policemen, having finished their election duty, landed up at the temple in full regalia while looking for parking space and clashed with the locals. Before long, a full scale fracas broke out with the cops, shooting to death a local resident, Aithappa, and assaulting several others.

Mangalore Superintendent of Police, Subrahmanya Rao, told TSI that: “We have filed murder case against two Andhra cops, and a rioting case has been filed against 15 others.’’

Though ignored by the media and the government, several questions have been raised. Is it right for a security force on duty to visit a crowded temple? Was it necessary to do it in official vehicles and fully armed? Before leaving their deputed region, did the security staff get prior permission? If yes, then what was the role of senior officials? But it remained clear from SP Mangalore’s explanations that basic questions aimed at furthering investigations had not been taken into account while filing the case against Andhra officials. For instance, security forces are not supposed to enter public places unless it is a part of their duty. At a time when the cops need to improve their image, the exact opposite is happening.

Last month, people manhandled an ASI – caught misbehaving with foreign tourists on the Panamburu Beach, near Mangalore. On May 3, a boy was killed by an armed reserve police van in Balehonnuru in Chickmanglur district. Clearly, curbs are in order for men in uniform.
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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017