It had taken the Kerala Police quite a great deal of undoing through the social media and off it to get rid of the name “Kuttanpillai police”, which symbolised everything that was wrong about the men in Khaki.
But even then whenever the police were found out of line, that derisive term was evoked to remind them of the bad reputation they once had.
Now it seems that “Kuttanpillai” has come back to haunt the force yet again with a video posted by the social media wing of police on their YouTube channel on Sunday bringing them brickbats.
Yet another initiative
The video titled “PC Kuttanpillai Speaking” was yet another social media initiative of police to reach out to the public about its cyber space presence and round-the-clock surveillance.
But it seems to have backfired with some online commentators and women activists deriding it as police’s attempt at ‘roasting’, a latent phenomenon of outspoken online criticism popularised recently by a young Malayali youngster by the name Arjun who turned an online sensation with his ‘roasting’ videos during the lockdown.
And if that was not bad enough a section of the video involving a popular female TikTok star was dubbed by activists as outright misogynist.
“We have never regarded the video as ‘roasting’ while the portion involving the TikTok star was included with her consent. A rather sharp and abusive comment to her video and her equally sharp response was used to drive home the message that it was not free-for-all in the cyber space and that police were monitoring,” said an officer associated with the creation of the video.
Asked whether the choice of the name Kunttanpillai was a mistake to begin with, he said that the choice was deliberate as the idea as the intro of the video itself went on to establish was that the likes of “Kuttanpillai” have no place in the force any longer.
New age face
“We wanted to reflect the new age and tech-savvy face of police by propagating our initiatives like cyberdomes. All that we tried was to package it in a way to attract people’s attention instead of going for drab awareness videos. Even the comments on the video were largely positive till a YouTube channel and some activists started targeting it,” he said.
With the attempt evoking hostile response police are seriously mulling whether to retire “PC Kuttanpillai” for good.
Notwithstanding the setback, the video seems to have rejuvenated the moribund YouTube channel of the police with its subscription soaring from a mere 9,000-odd to over 1.70 lakh in just over 24 hours. The video itself attracted over a lakh likes and over six lakh views.