The escalating tensions between the CPI and the CPI(M) have been defused with the suspension of the sub-inspector who was responsible for the lathi-charge on CPI workers and leaders in Ernakulam sometime back.

The brutal lathi-charge, in which CPI MLA Eldo Abraham suffered a fractured arm and CPI Ernakulam district secretary P. Raju and others suffered serious injuries, had put CPI-CPI(M) relations under severe strain.

With the timely intervention by CPI State secretary Kanam Rajendran, who insisted on action against the guilty cops, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan promised early action.

The Kerala police Director General of Police, Loknath Behra, however, submitted a report to the CM saying that there was no need for action against the policemen as the Ernakulam Collector’s report on the issue had said nothing against the policemen!

The Chief Minister rightly rejected the report of the DGP, and directed that the guilty sub-inspector be placed under suspension.

The police, however, upped the ante, by arresting a local CPI leader claiming that he had attacked the policemen! This is an act which can only aggravate the tensions which otherwise had abated following the suspension of the guilty SI.

Incidentally, CPI MLA Eldo Abraham and CPI Ernakulam district P. Raju are also accused in this particular case. In other words, the police will have to arrest the duo. If they are arrested, they are unlikely to get early bail in view of the sections under which they have been charged.

The police action has pushed both the CPI and the CPI(M) leadership on the defensive. Significantly, the police ‘revenge’ has come even as the CPI leaders are preparing to meet the CM to demand action against more policemen in connection with the lalthicharge.

The ball is now in the court of the Chief Minister once again. He will have to act firm against the police’s tendency to aggravate tensions by taking unilateral action without a care for the adverse impact such action would have on relations between the two principal partners in the Left Democratic Front (LDF).

Failure to take swift action to defuse the ten sions could again put CPI-CPI(M) relations under severe strain. The time has come for the Chief Minister, who also holds charge of the Home portfolio to tame the Kerala Police which has time as again put him and the LDF Government to acute embarrassment with its excesses and proclivity to act as a law unto themselves.

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