Kerala police apologies for forced squats ordered by IPS officer

Kannur, Mar 17 (PTI): Kerala police has tendered an apology to the state human rights panel for making three passers-by perform forced squats by IPS officer Yathish Chandra as a public punishment for violating COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in this north Kerala district two years ago.

In a report submitted to the panel, the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of the Kannur Range admitted that the act was "completely wrong" but Chandra, the then district police chief, did that with good intention as there was a possibility of the spread of the pandemic if strict action was not taken against the violators of the lockdown curbs.

The senior officer, in the report, also requested forgiveness for the IPS officer's act, which had triggered widespread controversy even as Chief Minister Pinaryi Vijayan came out criticising the act.

The police submitted the report based on a case registered by the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) on its own considering the media reports regarding the incident that happened in March, 2020.

The video footage, showing Chandra forcing three persons who gathered in front of a local tailoring shop in Valapattanam here to perform "etham" (squats) under scorching sun, had gone viral on social media platforms.

K Baiju Nath, judicial member of the SHRC, asked the police to desist from such measures and directed the police to stick to the procedures in the Police Act while initiating measures against law violators, a panel statement said on Thursday.

Unleashing violence against lawbreakers and enforcing of law on their own cannot be tolerated in any way, he told the police.

The panel, however, lavished praise on the law enforcers in the fight against COVID-19 and said they rendered a commendable job in effectively implementing lockdown curbs to prevent the spread of the pandemic. PTI LGK LGK SS SS