Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 24 July 2024 9.31 PM IST

Stop, check, kill, repeat; How vehicle checks work in Kerala


If you are a motorbike rider in Kerala, not just beware of the potholes and cluttered roads, but be vigilant about the nooks and corners where the state police quietly wait to make an ambush. Bikers are often stopped and most times made jibes by the same police forces. The paper works may be perfect, but the officials will play rogue just to vent their suppressed anger for being accurate with paper works. Even the high court recently warned the police officials indulging in vehicle checks to show etiquette. On another side, the government has given an additional target of Rs 1000 crore for the MVD to collect by this year. With this in mind, the officials in khaki enter the road with good hopes to collect the sum, if not, the feral side is unleashed. On, Saturday, the police entered the road near Thriupunithura in their rogue best. They stopped vehicle after vehicle. Then came a man named Manoharan, and the story began.

It was just 50m away from Manoharan’s house that the police stopped him. Manoharan not seeing the officials stopped a tad further than the actual spot. Times are such that the police are set on the loose and even trivial incidents irate them. A slap suddenly fell on an innocent manoharan’s cheeks. “ He was very naïve, reticent. Police slapped him. I can still hear that sound in my ears. It was more like a small cracker getting burst. Then the officers accused him of drunk driving. He denied it and was given the same treatment of slaps” a lady witness remembered the incident.

Later the officials made a scene out of it and dragged the 52-year-old to the back of the police jeep. Locals reached the spot and witnessed the scene which made it more sour and humiliating for a poor ware shop owner Manoharan. He was heartbroken.

Inside the police station, Manoharan called a friend to bail him out. The friend in no time reached the station and talked with a dismayed and frail-turned-Manoharan. In a split second, the friend remembers Manoharan slipping tongue and free-falling to the ground. He was taken to the hospital by the police officials. However, fate was written and Manoharan died midway through the journey. The postmortem report wrote it as heart failure. However, the role played by the cops in putting a poor man's life in the crosshairs should be discussed. These are times when the government vouched to the people about adopting newer ways including AI to scan vehicles and penalize them rather than indulging in the archaic and cruel way of stopping vehicles midway in busy traffic.

As usual, the police complaint authority and the human rights commission entered the scene. The crime branch has initiated an investigation and the police officer who slapped Manoharan was suspended. However, knowing about the usual pattern of how things sail in Kerala, the outre over the incident may soon go down. Talks are already on the way to make the death appear as a heart attack. The news may soon disappear from the mind of people. A widely loved actor passed today. Manoharan's news got submerged thus. Another piece of news will appear tomorrow, and then the end will be plain sailing. Whatever be, it will be prudent and magnanimous if the government initiates prosecution steps against all the involved police officers in this crime. The family is in grief, lost, and moreover crippled with thoughts of survival. The wife and the children of Manoharan glooming in tears over his dead body is a sure image that can be pinned with the government motto "new Kerala".

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