The ruckus and the subsequent attack on security guard at the Government Medical College in Kozhikode have made people question the fairness of those in power in Kerala.
Appreciably, the Left Democratic Front government had enacted a law to protect hospitals and healthcare workers. The Kozhikode incident, however, saw the ruling party taking a different view when its own activists trampled the same law.
Furthermore, the ruling party also launched a politically organised offensive — much like street goons — at righteous officials trying to implement the law. The August 31 Kozhikode incident and the subsequent developments have made people wonder whether the true intentions of the Front is to set "everything alright."
Dineshan, the security guard who was attacked at the hospital, is an ex-serviceman. He is also suffering from several ailments, the result of hardships endured while serving the country in uniform. A few members of the youth wing of the ruling party were seen kicking him on the chest. What revolution were they trying to bring in by attacking a helpless man?
The LDF should have respected the law it had brought in to protect medical facilities and healthcare workers more than anyone one else. Still, the same law was trampled even as the most powerful among the LDF leaders has been helming the State government and the Home Department.
Protests by youth organisations are not new to Kerala. The protests, or the means adopted, could be right or wrong. There were also leaders who had taken up the responsibility of acts committed during such protests.
In the Kozhikode incident a major wrong was committed, and the leaders initially denied any role. Once visuals from surveillance cameras became public, those involved went into hiding. When pressure mounted on them, five of the seven suspects surrendered, while the other two pulled the strings to sabotage the probe.
The police were also targeted. A protest march was taken out to the police headquarters after officers advised the wife of one of the suspects in hiding to ask him to surrender.
Police could legally slap charges under two non-bailable sections on the perpetrators of the crime: attempt to murder, and causing grievious injuries. The members of the public, too, have understood the seriousness of the case since they have seen the visuals of the brutality. But the people are helpless when the ruling party, its workers, and the entire machinery at its disposal work to protect the perpetrators.
The situation is grave. Those who led the wrongdoing themselves are encouraging injustice. This mentality has percolated from the top to the bottom.
The court had granted the police six days' custody of the accused to interrogate them and to collect evidence. The police, however, returned the accused to the court after one-and-a-half days. As per the state of affairs in the police, it may soon winding up the probe with the oft-used excuse "the accused are not cooperating!"
The valour the youth organisation workers displayed while stomping the chest of a hapless ex-serviceman at Kozhikode Medical College Hospital had caught widespread attention. It would have been better if political parties and their youth organisations in Kerala had shown half the valour to take on the drug dealers in the State.
They cannot take up such a move. How could they? But one thing is certain: the public is watching.
(The writer is a former judge of the High Court of Kerala)