Amid outrage over the alleged honour killing of a 23-year-old man in the state, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today said stern action would be taken against erring police officials in the case.
"Prima facie it is seen that police has not fulfilled its dharma in this incident and the government will not protect policemen found guilty in the case," Vijayan told a press conference here.
23-year old Kevin P Joseph, a Dalit Christian, was abducted on May 27 by a gang allegedly engaged by his fiancee's family. His body was found in a river in Kollam district a day later.
While two police personnel have been taken into custody in connection with the alleged honour killing, Sub-Inspector M S Shibu and Grade ASI Sunnymon of Gandhinagar police station were yesterday suspended for "laxity".
Kottayam District Superintendent of Police V M Mohammed Rafique was transferred following the incident.
Referring to the suspension of the two police officers, Vijayan said the action was taken as there were lapses on their part.
However, the Chief Minister said the government did not view an "isolated" incident like this as a "lapse" on the part of the whole police force. However, he made it clear that stern action would be taken against wrongdoers.
Asked if he plans to visit Joseph's house in Kottayam, Vijayan said visiting the house was not the issue now.
"Steps taken by the government to catch the culprits behind the crime are more important. Main accused in the case have been taken into custody and vehicles used by them have also been recovered.
As of now, I do not have any plans to visit the house..." Vijayan added.
The chief minister, however, lashed out at the media on reporting the issue and said a section was trying to "insult" Kerala and not following media ethics.
"You (media) are trying to insult the state... that is not correct," Vijayan said.
A section of the media was spreading the message that police were looking after the security of the Chief Minister instead of trying to catch the accused when the murder took place, Vijayan said.
"It is improper on the part of the media to report that the Chief Minister's programme was responsible for the crime," Vijayan said.
"The government welcomes healthy criticism from the media on its performance. In this case, there was a police lapse and there is nothing wrong in criticising it," he added.