KOCHI: Taking on sand mafia is not an easy task in Kerala even for the police, then think how the situation would be for a common man. Civil police officer Binu Benedict of Kollam is a living testimony to the brutality of sand mafia and for the past five years, he has been on a wheelchair struggling hard to live a life.
His only mistake: He stood up against sand mafia in Kozhikode and the mafia took vengeance on him by brutally attacking him on the Christmas eve in 2014 causing injury to his spine and paralysing his body neck down.
“I still hope for a complete recovery. But the incident has totally shattered the family. Our life is now all about medicines and treatment. My family has been very supportive and they are taking all the pain to look after me. Sadly, the trial of the case has not been completed. Sand mafia is all-powerful in Kerala. They have the backup and support to target anyone,” said Binu who is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Wayanad.
“The real pain is when I think about the plight of my wife, mother and son who have been taking all the effort to help me with my daily needs,” he said.
Binu’s is not a lone case in Kerala. An IPS officer in 2011 had narrowly escaped a bid on his life when sand mafia rammed a lorry into his official vehicle at Aluva in 2011. It was while chasing a sand-laden lorry that mafia attacked IPS officer J Jayanath, who was then posted as Aluva assistant superintendent of police (ASP).
“My driver and I escaped a bid on our lives when we tried to intercept a tipper lorry carrying illegally mined sand,” Jayanath said. Though the police tried to nab the driver identified as Anoop, he escaped from the spot and later surrendered before a court availing bail. “The sand mafia is very powerful and it has been acting against police officials who have stood up against them,” Jayanath said.
Retired DySP M N Ramesh is another officer who escaped a bid on his life by sand mafia when he was Aluva circle inspector in 2005. On May 16, 2015, sub-inspector Rajan at Pariyaram in Kannur was thrown off a moving lorry while trying to arrest illegal sand miners. The officer was hospitalised for several months for treatment.