Kerala: Fire officers face heat for training PFI activists

Martin Menacheery (Special correspondent)

A s many as five officers from the fire and rescue department in Ernakulam,including the regional fire officer,are likely to face action based on a report from the department chief about imparting training to Popular Front of India (PFI) activists.

The Kerala Fire and Rescue Services department is barred from giving training to religious or political outfits,says a new circular issued by its Director General B Sandhya.

The circular comes in the wake of a controversy over reports of department officials providing training to members of the Popular Front of India (PFI), an extremist Islamic organisation,in Aluva last week.

Reports says say that two officials have been suspended and three others transferred following an investigation report submitted to the state government by the department’s technical director.

Normally demonstrations,awareness programmes and public trainings are either planned by the Fire department or else carried out on the recommendation of other government agencies.

They can also happen under the initiative of residents associations,Janamaithri Police, student police cadets, NCC, NSS and other related organisations.

Sometimes,educational institutions, hospitals, commercial enterprises and Kudumbashree units may also make use of these sessions.

Apart from these, the department or officials of the department organising training events for political or religious outfits will be seen as a disciplinary lapse and action shall be taken against it,” says the circular.

The department has taken serious note of a few officials providing training to an extremist organisation recently, adds the circular.Sandhya reportedly ordered an investigation into the matter.

Both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had criticised the state government after reports of the training provided to PFI by the department came out last week.

On Saturday, Opposition Leader VD Satheesan raised the issue in the Assembly, asking for an enquiry into the matter and accusing the ruling Left parties of trying to appease minority extremist elements by these actions.

Before that, BJP Kerala chief K Surendran posted images from the training session on Twitter and claimed that the Pinarayi Vijayan government was “giving a red carpet for these Jihadi forces.

Kerala Fire & Rescue Service gave training to the members of the radical Islamic outfit Popular Front of India. PFI and SDPI are involved in several terrorist activities. The @vijayanpinarayi govt is giving a red carpet for these Jihadi forces.@AmitShah ji. He said in his tweet.