Israeli police establish contact with a Kerala town, but the reason is interesting

A local apparel unit in Kannur has been working to get uniform shirts ready for the Israel police force for the past eight years, and even now.


Published Oct 19, 2023 | 11:59 AMUpdatedOct 19, 2023 | 12:08 PM

Israel police force

Political parties and their leaders may have different opinions in Kerala about the ongoing war between Israel and the Hamas over Gaza.

But a group of people in Kannur, in north Kerala, have been diligently “working” for Israel before and after the deadly attack targetting civilians in that country by the Hamas.

Hundreds of tailors from a local apparel unit in Kannur have been working tirelessly to get uniform shirts ready for the Israel police force for the past eight years.

The politically volatile Kannur is also known for its glorious tradition of handloom making and textile export.

Uniforms for Israel police force

The tailors and employees at Maryan Apparel Pvt Limited in the district are behind the elegant light blue, long-sleeved uniform shirts of the Israel police force.

Not just the double-pocket shirts, but the unit also designs and attaches the trademark emblems to its sleeves.

Thomas Olickal, a Kerala businessman based in Mumbai, is the owner of the apparel unit, which currently employs over 1,500 trained staff.

Thomas, hailing from Thodupuzha in Idukki district, said the the Israel police contacted the company even after the war began and placed additional orders for more uniforms.

He said that they placed an order for a new product from this year and the first shipment would be made by December 2023.

“They have ordered the cargo pants and shirt uniform set for their police training. Fabric production is going on and we are planning to start stitching by November-end or the beginning of December,” he told PTI.

Related: Israel-Palestine conflict: Kerala pilgrims return safely

One lakh uniforms annually

“We have been supplying one lakh uniform shirts annually to the Israel police for the past eight years. It is really a matter of pride for us that we are supplying uniform shirts for a top-class police force like that of Israel,” Olickal told a Malayalam news channel.

Launched at the state-run Kinfra Park in Kannur in 2006, the company specialises in the uniforms of Army men, police personnel, security officers, and health service workers from various countries across the globe.

It also supplies school uniforms, dresses for supermarket staff, doctors’ coats, coveralls, corporate wear, and so on.

The apparel unit was set up in Kannur with the objective of providing employment to local people who had become jobless due to the decline of the traditional beedi sector there.

Also read: Kerala watches Israel-Gaza conflict with fingers crossed

Approached by Israel police

Thomas said the Israel police had approached his company after coming to know that they specialie in uniform making.

“Their representatives came to Mumbai and discussed the deal. Later, they visited the factory here with their top officials, designers, and quality controllers. They were here for nearly 10 days,” he recalled.

Olickal said that Israeli officials are very particular about perfection and they would accept the stock only if it perfectly fit and the quality was up to par.

He wanted the ongoing war to end at the earliest and peace to return in the region.

The conflict

The war that began on 7 October has become the deadliest of five Gaza wars for both sides. The Gaza Health Ministry said that 2,778 Palestinians have been killed and 9,700 wounded.

Another 1,200 people across Gaza are believed to be buried under the rubble, alive or dead.

More than 1,400 Israelis have been killed, and at least 199 others, including children, were captured by Hamas and taken into Gaza, according to Israel.

(Disclaimer: The headline, subheads, and intro of this report along with the photos may have been reworked by South First. The rest of the content is from a syndicated feed, and has been edited for style.)