How will you restore victim girl’s faith on cops: Kerala high court to government

While hearing a plea filed by the girl’s father seeking compensation and strict action against the police officer, the single bench of Justice Devan Ramachandran came down heavily on police for its efforts to save the officer.
The counsel appearing for police officer S Rajeev produced an application before the court in which she “whole heartedly apologised to the child”. (HT)
The counsel appearing for police officer S Rajeev produced an application before the court in which she “whole heartedly apologised to the child”. (HT)
Published on Dec 07, 2021 12:51 AM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram

The Kerala high court on Monday asked the state government what it proposes to do to assuage feelings of an 8-year-old girl and her father, who were accused of theft by a woman police officer in public, so as to restore her confidence in humanity and police.

While hearing a plea filed by the girl’s father seeking compensation and strict action against the police officer, the single bench of Justice Devan Ramachandran came down heavily on police for its efforts to save the officer. The pink police officer (specialised force to ensure women safety), meanwhile, tendered an unconditional apology to the court and victims.

But the court said it was for the girl and her father to decide whether to accept it or not. Later, her father said he won’t accept an apology at this juncture and will go ahead with his plea.

“The visuals of the crying child were really moving. May be the officer did not intend to hurt her, but the court wants to see how the state has taken note of this. What does the state proposes to do for the child to restore her confidence in humanity and police,” the judge observed. During the last hearing, the video of the incident was played in the court room.

The incident occurred on August 27. The girl along with her father came to see a gigantic cargo being shifted by road to Vikram Sarabhai Research Centre in the state capital. The pink police was part of police deployment to control the public. When the pink police officer misplaced her mobile phone she accused the father and little girl, who were standing near police vehicle, of stealing it. Both were questioned in public by the officer and the girl broke down during frisking.

But a few minutes later phone was recovered from a police jeep and police team left the scene immediately without tendering an apology to the petrified girl. Later, the video of police officer questioning the duo went viral. After the video went viral, the police officer was transferred and asked to undergo behavioral training.

When public prosecutor O Narayanan submitted the state police chief’s report in which he stated that the girl started crying when the crowd gathered around them to ridicule the officer after phone was found the court rejected this argument. “She was crying from the very beginning of the video, she was extremely terrified. This is where the cover up starts. Khaki will always go in favour of khaki,” the judge observed criticising the report of the police chief. Earlier, the court had termed her action most “horrendous and insensitive” and asked how a mother can treat a minor girl like this.

The counsel appearing for police officer S Rajeev produced an application before the court in which she “whole heartedly apologised to the child”. In her application, she said the father of the child was holding a cigarette and when he saw he hid it from her so she wrongly presumed that he had taken her phone. She pleaded that she was the mother of three minor children and her husband lost job abroad and waiting there for a final settlement.

“If this girl does not get justice from this court, where is she going to get it from? She has gone knocking at every commission before coming here,” the judge asked the state to file a detailed reply on next hearing on Dec 15.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Ramesh Babu is HT’s bureau chief in Kerala, with about three decades of experience in journalism.

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Saturday, May 28, 2022