Thiruvananthapuram: Techies are up in arms against moral policing by cops in the name of security checks at Technopark.
Prathidhwani, the socio-cultural & welfare organization of IT employees, has submitted a complaint to the Technopark CEO and HR manager after a staffer and his wife were stopped and harassed at night by the cops. The association has demanded that the accused officers be kept away from duty.
They allege that in the name of security check the cops are misbehaving with staffers. In six months, more than 20 staffers, including women, have come forward with complaints against the security staff.
The protests against police for harassing the staffer and his wife at the main entrance spread to social media too, with several staff members sharing posts criticizing the cops. They also allege that since cops stop them for a long time for security check, they are not able to register their attendance on time and had to return home.
The trigger for the complaint was the harassment of the couple. When their car reached the main entrance, the vehicle was stopped for security check. Except the staffer's wife, those in the car showed their ID cards, but were not allowed in. They were told to leave behind the woman and get in.
When the staffer told the cops that the woman is his wife and he is willing to take an entry pass, the cops wanted to see proof that she is his wife. The woman was told to come out of the car and stand on the road for a long time. When her husband intervened, he was threatened with jail time.
When the issue became a big controversy, the couple were called to the Kazhakoottam police station to reach a settlement.
Woman staffer's complaint
Another complaint is about cops forcing a woman staffer who came to work in the afternoon shift to stand on the road for a long time. Since she forgot to carry her ID card, she wrote her company's name and ID number for entry pass. She also told them to let her in only after calling up the company to verify her employee status. She was rudely told to stand aside by the copy. Then, acting busy, he didn't attend to her for long. Even after a phone call from the company, he delayed her entry.
Relatives are a big no
Relatives who come to pick up women workers are also at the mercy of cops. According to norms, if the relative has a copy of the employee's ID card with a sign and seal of HR manager, he or she should get entry. Most parents come to pick up their daughters in view of their safety at night.
Recently, a parent who came to Technopark didn't have the copy of the ID card. Seeking exemption, he told the cops that the copy of the ID card got spoiled after getting wet in rain and he will be getting a new copy the next day. But he was denied entry.
When the parent insisted, he was told that he won't get entry without the document. At the same time, since she couldn't find her father, the woman took a company bus and got down at Kazhakoottam.
Meanwhile, the parent, who neither had a mobile phone nor did he remember his daughter’s mobile number, panicked. He somehow managed to get a passerby’s phone to call up home and get his daughter’s phone number. Finally, after calling her, he reached the bus stop and picked her up.
It is a fact that the security at Technopark has become foolproof since the cops took over. The current complaints are more about their behavior. While most officers are decent, only three or four of them are troublemakers. Initially, the cops seized several fake ID cards and made a name for themselves but squandered all the goodwill very soon. The finger is pointed at new cops whose overzealousness is creating problems for staff. Techies are also not ready to accept the highhandedness cops display at other places. However, among these officers, there are hard-working cops who behave decently.
A common complaint is that while checking ID cards after stopping cars, the cops get busy with phone calls, creating traffic blocks and wasting employees' time. The phone calls during duty time is also impeding proper security checks. At times, the cops would be talking on the phone when they stop vehicles.
The employees are willing to cooperate with security checks, but they say they will protest if cops resort to moral policing. Looking at the recent incidents, they say the cops should be ready to make amends. The employees are not complaining against all the cops posted at Technopark, said Prathidhwani secretary Rajeev Krishnan, and president Vineeth Chandran.
• Provide personality development classes to cops so that they learn how to behave properly
• Make clear guidelines for employees arriving without ID card
• Stop moral policing
• See security lapses as a security issue and not as law and order issue. Stop filing police cases over security lapses
• Use latest technology for regulating entry
• Transfer officers who harassed the employee and his wife