When the Opposition blamed the government in the Assembly on Thursday for not preventing the increasing crimes against women in Kerala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had a question.
He asked the House to consider the 15-year-old who attempted to rape and inflict grave injuries on a 21-year-old female at Kottukkara, Malappuram. "This boy has no prior record of criminal activity. How can we expect the police to prevent his criminal actions," the chief minister said.
Vijayan hurled this question as a counter to Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan's posers. "Is investigation the sole responsibility of the police? Is prevention not part of their duties," he had said.
The chief minister's quick response looked to catch the Opposition Leader off guard. He swiftly regained his footing and explained how the police could go about crushing the possibilities of crimes even before they could even be thought of.
Satheesan said the police could essentially do two things. One, find out why crimes against women and children are increasing. Two, give out the right message to the public.
He said the way the police handled the deaths of Walayar sisters - girls nine and 12 years old who were found hanging inside their homes - conveyed the wrong message. It created the impression that the government was with the perpetrators.
Even the High Court had severely criticised the police and the prosecution lawyers in the case.
Preferential treatment by the police was yet another instance of wrong messaging. As example, Satheesan said that not even a single arrest had taken place in the attack against an AISF leader by SFI leaders during the election to the Senate of the MG University.
"On the other hand, the police were quick to arrest seven Youth Congress women members who took part in a protest march. It didn't matter to them that two of the arrested women were lactating mothers," Satheesan said.
He said the police should also shed its shameful prejudice. "Our police seem to have a tendency to pre-judge cases in which women are victims. They look for the woman complainant's past and seem eager to cast aspersions on her character. It is the victim who is subject to public and official inquisition. This should change," the Opposition leader said.
He wanted police to exist as a deterrent. "Criminals should fear the police and should not be smug in the belief that their political masters would save them."
Along with quick and fair justice, Satheesan said the police should also identify the reasons behind the growing atrocities against women.
"We should check whether the increased drug use was messing up with the minds of our students," Satheesan said.
"There is also the dangerous social media and darknet addiction among teenagers. These children are passing through a highly impressionable stage in their growing up. They can easily fall into traps set for them. Our job is to identify and disable these traps," he said.