Screengrab of the incident | Photo: Mathrubhumi News
Kochi: A day after the Kerala High Court directed the state government to pay a compensation of Rs 1.5 lakhs to the eight-year-old-girl from Attingal, who was harassed by a pink police officer accusing her of theft, her father told Mathrubhumi.com that they have decided to make use of the money for the welfare of tribal students.
The concerns of tribal students have always worried us as they are neglected from all walks of life, said Jayachandran, father of the girl. “I will find some bright tribal students from Wayanad tribal settlements and this money will be given to them for their studies. It was not for money we engaged in the legal war, but to put spotlight on the callous attitude of a law enforcement officer. The ordeal, which we had gone through, may not be an isolated one. But due to fear or lack of evidence, the victims of such negative attitudes may not seek legal aid. The court, by pronouncing such a verdict, sent a clear message to the society,” said Jayachandran.
The police officer was blind after being intoxicated by the power of her uniform. “After accusing me and my child of theft, the officer told the crowd that she saw my child stealing her phone. She wanted to inspect my child's body by removing her dress and later she said my child threw away her phone after stealing. Even after getting her phone back from the car, she was not ready to confess. Instead, she said, 'people like him are habitual offenders and they steal things by carrying children with them'. It was with a broken heart, we reached home as we were shattered completely. People who were familiar with me in the crowd later motivated us to take a legal course against the officer. Keeping quiet was not an ideal choice as it will only help such officers going scot-free; but raising a voice will definitely bring a change,” added Jayachandran.
He told Mathrubhumi.com that he is happy with the verdict and urged all to voice against such injustices. “I am still not sure that I would get the compensation as the government may go for an appeal challenging the verdict,” added Jayachandran.
Considering the 'trauma' suffered by the minor girl, the court on Wednesday directed the state government to provide compensation for violation of her fundamental rights. The high court also directed the state government to pay Rs 25,000 to the child as cost of litigation. Justice Devan Ramachandran also directed initiation of disciplinary proceedings against the errant officer in question.
The court said that till the disciplinary proceedings are initiated and concluded, the officer shall be kept away from duties which would require her to interact with the general public and further directed that she should be given necessary training on interpersonal behavior. The court also said that the petitioner and her father can proceed with any other litigation they may want to initiate against the officer.
The incident occurred on August 27 when Attingal resident Jayachandran reached Moonnumukku with his eight-year-old daughter, who wanted to watch the movement of a massive cargo to the Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC) in Thumba.
Rajitha, the woman Pink police officer, was deployed to assist in traffic regulation and she accused the duo of stealing her mobile phone that was kept in the police vehicle. In a video which went viral, the officer and her colleague were seen harassing the father and the daughter and even frisking him. The child broke down amid their harassment.
However, when an onlooker dialed the number of the officer, the mobile phone was found in the police vehicle, following which the police team left the scene without even tendering an apology to the father and the daughter. As part of a disciplinary action, the woman officer was transferred and the state police chief directed her to undergo behavioral training.