Kerala CM vows to end ‘slave labour’ in police force

Matter came to light after a police constable was admitted to hospital after he was attacked with a mobile phone by the daughter of a senior police officer

Thiruvananthapuram: Faced with a slew of allegations against senior police officers subjecting juniors to ‘slave labour’ at their residences, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday vowed to take strong action to end the practice.

Responding to a petition by K. Sabarinath MLA, the chief minister, who also holds the home portfolio, said the government was committed to ending such “servile treatment” of junior policemen.

Vijayan said the government would clamp down on such practice “however high an official is”, and that no such human right violation would be tolerated in the police force. He said it was a shame that such a system that existed during British times was being continued so many decades later.

The matter of ‘slave labour’ in the police force came to light last week after a police constable, A.K. Gavaskar who was deputed as driver to the services of additional director general of police, Sudheesh Kumar, got himself admitted to hospital after he was attacked with a mobile phone by Kumar’s daughter.

Gavaskar alleged that he used to suffer constant verbal and other abuse at the hands of Kumar’s family members and that he had been forced to do a lot of menial work at the senior officer’s home.

Taking note of media reports, Sudheesh Kumar was removed from his post. He has not been offered a fresh posting.

Following Gavaskar’s revelation, a number of other junior policemen attached to senior officers — and known as camp followers — have come out with similar tales of ill-treatment at the hands of seniors and their family members. One of the accused officers is an Indian Police Service trainee.

The juniors’ revelations — including having to bathe dogs, buy provisions for the family, wash their clothes, disposing of kitchen waste, and even laying floor tiles — have raised widespread anger against the manner in which junior police officials are being treated.

A rough estimate puts 2,000 policemen to be doing such ‘camp follower’ services for senior officers, many of them in the IPS rank.

Adding more shock to the Gavaskar incident, police charged a case against him after Sudheesh Kumar’s daughter complained that Gavaskar had attempted to outrage her modesty.

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