The cars recovered from Walayar and the crime scene | Screengrabs
Kochi: Blaming lack of resources in the state police force and intelligence wing for the continuing gruesome political murders in Kerala, former top cops ruled out the chance of yet another murder associated with the killings of RSS activits Sreenivasan and SDPI member Subair in Palakkad soon.
However, they called for high alerts in Kozhikode, Idukki and Wayand as chances are high for a retaliatory attack soon in these districts. It was by taking into account the geographical, demographic and political structure of these districts, the top cops urged the state police to beef up security measures there.
“When we take a look at the political murders in Kerala, no one talks about the first attacker anywhere. In Palakkad the first attacker was RSS and SDPI made a befitting reply by retaliating in just 24 hours. In all the recent attacks, SDPI retaliated in hours as they gave the message that hurting them will force them to hit back strongly. The target of SDPI may not be a popular leader but an undefended low profile party worker. They have a list in hand of potential targets to retaliate, if attacked. This is the reason why SDPI could retaliate in 24 hours in Palakkad, Alappuzha, Kannur, Thiruvananthapuram and all,” said the former top cop on condition of anonymity.
In every twin murders, the scene became quiet after the retaliatiry attacks, he added. “In Palakkad, SDPI retaliated and the chances of a next attack is scanty. But in view of the past murders, we can assume that there is a chance to have an attack in another district, which could be Kozhikode, Idukki and Wayanad. In all the places where the SDPI-RSS attack took place, there were escape routes available. In Alappuzha, the attackers escaped via sea, in Palakkad, attackers crossed the border soon after the attack and in Thiruvananthapuram too. In Kozhikode, Idukki and Wayanad, escaping is easier so high precautions must be given to prevent a murder. Eventhough, the chances are very less for the police and intelligence to succeed in it, they should put all efforts to prevent it.”
He also said that preventing such attacks is not at all possible with the existing resources. “In Kerala we have only 541 police stations for the 3.6-crore people. The strength of the police force is nearly 50,000, which is very limited. In the intelligence wing as well we have only 1,400 staff, of which only 75 are officials. With these limited human resources, it is impossible to prevent such murders and retaliatory attacks. We don't have accurate intelligence systems to prevent such attacks.”
After all, counter attacks are seldom prevented across the world, he added. “Despite this being the fact, murders in Kerala is very less compared to the national average.”
Kerala has been showing a declining trend in murder cases registered for many years now. The worrying factor is that political murders in Kerala, however, show an upward trend.
According to the data available with the State Crime Records Bureau, 556 murders were reported in Kerala in the year 1977 and it came down to 509 in 1994, 334 in 2015, 306 in 2020 and 274 in 2021. However, the Kerala police do not keep a list of political murders in the state. An official of the state Intelligence told Mathrubhumi.com that nearly 50 murders took place in Kerala since 2011; which is higher when compared to the less than 40 political murders reported in a period between 1991 to 2011.
Effective functioning of police and higher conviction rate are the key reasons pointed out by top cops as the reason for the declining crime rates. When it comes to political murders, these factors have failed to make a difference.
The declining murder rate in Kerala is a matter to be cheered up as the national figure shows an upward trend. The number of murders in India went up from 18,376 in 1977 to 32,127 in 2015. A 75 percent increase in murder cases was shown nationally. Whereas, the murder rate in Kerala dropped by 40 percent, despite an increase in population by nearly 50 percent. The murder rate per million people also dropped from 22 in 1,977 to just 9 now.
The top cops urged the state government to encourage the police to interfere and take strict action when there are disputes among such organised groups. They called for making the police force free of political influence.
“Kerala police have been functioning effectively;but when it comes to political issues they cannot do free policing. Police must be allowed to do their duty and political criminals must be convicted without fail,” said another top cop.
According to a report, Kerala now has the highest rate of conviction in India (82%). The rate is far higher than the national average of 47 percent.