Thiruvananthapuram, Mar 28 (PTI): After raising a hue and cry in the Kerala Assembly over ‘police excesses’, the Opposition Congress-led UDF today hit out at force over its alleged failure to rein in goons and mafia gangs in the state.

The UDF staged a walkout later, alleging the government’s lack of effective intervention in the matter, even as PWD minister G Sudhakaran, on behalf of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, maintained that the law and order situation in the state was ‘secure’.

Pointing to the murder of a former radio jockey at nearby Madavoor yesterday, Opposition leader in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala said goons and quotation gangs were unleashing widespread violence in the state, causing a fear psychosis among the people.

He also alleged that police, who are supposed to ensure protection to the life and property of people, were working in tandem with the anti-social elements in many cases.

The “politicisation” of the police force and lack of effective interventions and follow-up action by the government had resulted in the goons having a free run, he said.

“All goons and quotation gangs are getting political protection in the state now,” Chennithala said.

Mentioning about the mandatory training imparted to police yesterday to improve their professional behvariour, he said the “police highhandedness” was continuing even after the ‘tution class’ by the DGP.

However, Sudhakaran rejected the opposition charges and said the police force was one of the best in the country and had won many awards and accolades for its efficiency.

“The government has taken effective steps to rein in goons, loan sharks and other anti-social elements. Some isolated incidents are happening. But the law and order situation in the state is secure,” he said.

Over 400 cases had been registered under the Kerala Anti-Social Activities Prevention Act (KAPA) after the LDF government came to power and over 200 cases were registered under ‘Operation Kubera’, a drive against loan sharks, last year, he said.

Though the minister admitted that there was ‘criminalisation’ in the police, he said the government’s effort was to bring in change in this trend.

He also informed the House that a special investigation team was set up to probe the murder of the ex-raido jockey and folk singer, Rajesh and the culprits would be nabbed soon.

Seeking notice for the adjournment motion over the issue, K Muraleedharan (Congress) said criminal activities were becoming a continuing saga in the state.

Police, who acted as protectors on one side, were becoming ‘arachars’ (hangmen) on the other side, he added.

The Opposition staged a walkout after Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan disallowed the motion and took up other business of the day.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.