Mukkam (Kozhikode): A fast inward skirmish to unbundle a mob onslaught; an ambush on a potentially virulent crowd; singling out and subduing stone-throwers and projectile-launchers were among the civilian crowd-control exercises taken up as part of a crack training for women civil police officers at Mukkom, near Kozhikode.
The officers from Malappuram, Kannur, Kasaragod were commandeered for a brush-up drill in anticipation of a planned protest against GAIL's proposed underground gas pipeline project on December 19.
The officers also practiced tear gas launch, use of stinger grenades, and firing.
The training was led assistant commissioner of police (Kozhikode city) Merin Joseph; assistant superintendent, Kalpetta, Chaitra; deputy superintendent, Thamarassery, Sajeevan; circle inspector, Koduvally, B Biswas; and sub-inspector KP Abhilash as per the directions of director general of police, north zone, Rajesh Diwan and police superintendent M Pushkaran.
Mukkom and a few places in the vicinity had witnessed clashes between the police and protesters on October 31 and November 1 when GAIL authorities tried to acquire land for the proposed gas pipeline project. The UDF had called a hartal in Keezhuparamab, Karathoor, and Kodiyathur panchayats after the people's collective alleged police high-handedness in dealing with the strike. The people said the police was indiscriminate in the use of force and resorted to brutal lathi-charge. Residents said the police entered houses and picked up people who were not even in the vicinity of the protest.
The chief minister had stated that there were deliberate efforts to impede development. He said the government would not tolerate efforts by 'certain sections' to undermine ongoing development projects.