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Thrissur Pooram row: District police chief to be transferred over restrictions imposed during temple festival

The iconic temple festival in Kerala, the Thrissur Pooram faced disruption due to police restrictions for crowd management, leading to criticism of the state government's handling of the situation. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan directed the state police chief to transfer Thrissur Police Commissioner Ankit Asokan and Assistant Commissioner K Sudarsan with the permission of the Election Commission. 
 

Thrissur Pooram row: Thrissur District police chief Ankit Asokan to be transferred over restrictions imposed during temple festival anr
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First Published Apr 22, 2024, 9:23 AM IST

Thrissur: Tight police restrictions at Thrissur Pooram, Kerala's biggest cultural event and purported political meddling have erupted into a controversy only days before the Lok Sabha elections on April 26. Police restrictions implemented for crowd management on April 19 and 20 dampened the spirit of the iconic temple festival, leading to criticism of the state government's handling of the situation.

In an attempt to mitigate the political fallout, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan instructed the state police chief on Sunday to transfer Thrissur Police Commissioner Ankit Ashok and Assistant Commissioner K Sudarsan with the approval of the Election Commission.

The CM also asked Kerala Police Chief Dr Shaik Darvesh Saheb to conduct an inquiry into the complaints against the police and submit a report within a week.

The 'pooram' festivities had to be truncated after the police barricaded most entry points to the Swaraj round and had even blocked the Thiruvambady procession.

While addressing a press meet, the CM said the government machinery had limitations during election time. “The Director General of Police has been directed to carry out a probe into the incidents and submit a report,” the CM said.

As a result of police restrictions implemented for crowd management, several events of the Pooram had to be abandoned midway on the night of April 19. Additionally, for the first time in the festival's history, the fireworks display, a major attraction, scheduled for the early hours of April 20, had to be held in broad daylight on that day.

The state government swiftly took action against Commissioner Ankit Asokan following the circulation of visuals depicting him blocking mahouts carrying palm leaves for elephants from entering the temple premises. In the video, he was seen shouting at the mahouts and individuals carrying parasols for Kudamattam.
 

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