Kerala minister justifies KSEB action of cutting off power for alleged assault on employees; SHRC takes cognizance

However, the minister assured that the connection would be restored if the board got the assurance that its employees would not be attacked.

ByDileep V Kumar

Published Jul 07, 2024 | 3:25 PM Updated Jul 07, 2024 | 3:27 PM

The damages in the KSEB office following the alleged vandalism. (Facebook)

Electricity Minister K Krishnankutty justified the action of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) of cutting off the power at a home in the Kozhikode district over allegedly manhandling its employees.

“It is not an act of vengeance. It was taken to safeguard the protection of the employees. KSEB is a company, and they have the right to cut off supply if someone defaults on paying their bills. There is no point in attacking employees or destroying the properties after defaulting on the payment,” said Krishnankutty on Sunday, 7 July.

However, the minister assured that the connection would be restored if the board got the assurance that its employees would not be attacked.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) registered a suo motu case against KSEB based on news reports indicating human rights violations. SHRC Acting Chairperson and Judicial Member K Baijunath sought a response from the KSEB executive engineer within seven days.

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The alleged incident

On Friday, two people, identified as UC Ajmal and UC Shanshad — who are brothers — allegedly stormed into the KSEB Thiruvambady Section office, confronted officials and damaged property after their home’s power was cut off.

The KSEB officials retaliated by cutting power to their parents’ residence on Saturday.

Their parents — Razaq and Mariam — protested at the office demanding restoration of supply but the situation took a dire turn when the father — on whose name the connection is registered — collapsed unconscious.

Razaq was admitted to a hospital and was discharged later.

Police have registered a non-bailable case against the brothers while Mariam filed a complaint against KSEB officials for allegedly misbehaving with them.

However, in an audio clip released later, Ajmal said that they did not make damages in the KSEB office and accused the officials of making the damages.

“We protested against the officials regarding a high power bill. Following the altercation, I poured some old curry on them. Everything else they claim is false. It was the KSEB officials themselves who damaged the office. The driver there damaged glasses. My younger brother was also attacked,” said Ajmal, according to Malayala Manorama.

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Opposition seeks minister’s resignation

Krishnankutty justified the action of KSEB officials while responding to the allegation of UDF MLA T Siddique that KSEB had implemented ‘UP-model Bulldozer Raj’ as some officials, instead of taking the legal route were initiating actions on their own.

“With a law existing in the country to punish the wrongdoers, what is the justification for keeping the entire family in the dark? Is this the occurrence of a situation similar to the UP’s bulldozer Raj in Kerala?” Siddique questioned.

“The next program will be to starve the family of the ration shop attacker and cut off drinking water if it is the water department,” he said.

When the minister justified the KSEB action, Siddique said the situation demanded his resignation.

“The minister has committed a grave breach of oath through this capsule. The minister is justifying keeping a family in the dark by blowing the law of the land and keeping a family in the dark with personal enmity. The wrongdoer should be punished, that’s what the law, the police and the courts are for. Who empowered the officer to take the law into his hands?” Siddique questioned in a post on Facebook.

“Not just firing that officer; this is a serious situation where the minister himself should resign. UP model cannot be accepted in Kerala. In a country where all those who destroyed the legislature become ministers, how can we stand to see that only common people are punished like this?” he further questioned.

“If the law is thrown in the wind to protect the officials, then there will be a situation where the people will take the law into their hands,” he said.

(Edited by Muhammed Fazil)

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