Kerala Chief Minister’s security detail comes under fire for baton-charging black flag protesters in Alappuzha

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his Cabinet colleagues during the Navakerala Sadas at Perumbavoor in Ernakulam district.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his Cabinet colleagues during the Navakerala Sadas at Perumbavoor in Ernakulam district.
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s personal security detail has come under scathing criticism for “overstepping” the bounds of their official duty and “assaulting” Kerala Students Union (KSU) activists who staged a black flag protest as the motorcade ferrying the Cabinet to a Navakerala Sadas venue in the Kayamkulam Assembly constituency in Alappuzha district swept by on December 16 (Saturday) morning.

Television news channels broadcast grainy mobile phone footage of the Chief Minister’s personal security team stepping out of two vehicles, escorting the Chief Minister’s bus, and baton-charging the demonstrators detained at the spot by the local police.

Gunman, aides unleashed violence: Satheesan

Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan told reporters in Kozhikode that the Chief Minister’s “gunman and aides” unleashed wanton violence against KSU workers already in police custody.

He said the “safari-suited criminals” pushed aside the local police cocooning the KSU workers and attacked the detained students.

Mr. Satheesan said the Chief Minister’s security team has no role in maintaining public peace. “Such authority is the preserve of the local police. The PSO (personal security officer) and team carried batons in their vehicles with a premeditated intention of attacking Opposition protesters along the Chief Minister’s route,” he said.

Mr. Satheesan demanded that the police investigate Mr. Vijayan’s ‘gunman’ for leading “a spiteful attack” against persons in the police custody. He alleged that the PSO had unjustifiably assaulted a lensman covering the Navakerala Sadas in Idukki earlier.

Mr. Satheesan said Mr. Vijayan’s “defence” of lawbreakers in the Chief Minister’s security detail smacked of “criminal-minded sadism”. He claimed that Mr. Vijayan would go down in history as a “cruel and authoritarian Chief Minister”.

Duty-bound to protect CM: Pinarayi

At a press conference in Alappuzha, Mr. Vijayan said he was not aware that his personal security officer had assaulted KSU activists.

“The security team pilots the vehicle ferrying the Cabinet. It does not tail the bus. Moreover, the security team is duty-bound to protect the Chief Minister. There is nothing illegal about officers performing their official obligations”, Mr. Vijayan said.

He said he had noticed his personal security dissuading a news photographer from barging his way to the Chief Minister in Idukki.

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