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Sabarimala Violence: Police Mistakenly Identify Cop as Suspect

The policeman was mistakenly identified as a suspect in the Sabarimala violence case by the Kerala Police.

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In a goof-up by the Kerala Police, a plainclothed policeman's photograph was included in an album of 210 suspects who were allegedly involved in the Sabarimala violence last week. Realising their mistake, the police removed the photograph, and put out a post on their official Facebook page acknowledging the error.

The goof-up was first pointed out by BJP leader MT Ramesh. “The person listed as no. 167 in the lookout notice is a member of the police force. The photograph of Ibrahim, a police driver at the Pathanamthitta AR Camp, is being circulated claiming that he is a member of the RSS. Police personnel and CPI(M) cadres started trouble in Sabarimala. This man got caught because cameras don’t lie,” Ramesh wrote in a post.

The policeman was mistakenly identified as a suspect in the Sabarimala violence case by the Kerala Police.
The policeman was mistakenly identified as a suspect in the Sabarimala violence case by the Kerala Police.
(Photo Courtesy: The News Minute)
The Kerala Police admitted its mistake in a Facebook post, and pointed out that the pictures of the 210 suspects were not ‘lookout notices’.
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“Truth is that this is not a look-out notice; these are pictures of people suspected to have engaged in violence at Sabarimala, collected from in and around the temple. These details have been sent to all district police chiefs to investigate and nab the real culprits. Since we confirmed that he (Ibrahim) was caught in the violence while returning from duty, as the mob attacked the vehicle he was driving, we decided to remove him from the list of suspects,” the post read.

Another picture circulating on social media and messaging platforms showed a young policeman in the crowd.

In Malayalam, a message below the newspaper clipping questioned, “Can a policeman sport such a hairstyle? Is this a policeman or a CPI(M) goon?”
The policeman was mistakenly identified as a suspect in the Sabarimala violence case by the Kerala Police.
The image circulating online questions if the man (marked in the picture above) is a policeman or a CPI(M) worker. 
(Photo Courtesy: The News Minute)

Kerala Police, in the same FB post, condemned social media users who had used these pictures to spread fake reports.

The policeman in the picture has been identified as Aashiq, a constable in the KAP 1 battalion stationed at Sabarimala.

“An on-duty police officer’s picture has been circulated, saying that is a youth organisation worker… to spread misconceptions in the minds of the people. Criticism of the hairstyle of this officer, too, holds no ground,” the post said.

The Kerala Police also warned against spreading rumours on social media.

“To spread fake propaganda about duty-bound police officers is utterly inappropriate. This explanation is to remove the concerns of the people who have been exposed to these fake messages on social media,” the Kerala Police Facebook post read.

Police on Wednesday, 24 October, made a list of suspects in the Sabarimala violence case, and sent it to the district police chiefs for verification. Once the identification process was complete and the suspects were confirmed, arrests will be made, Pathanamthitta district superintendent told TNM.

(This article was originally published on The News Minute)

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