Kottayam (Kerala) [India], September 16 (ANI): Actor-turned-Rajya Sabha MP Suresh Gopi on Thursday justified his act of making a police sub-inspector salute to him during his visit to Puthur in Thrissur which had stirred controversy and said that police personnel in Kerala should follow the system existing in the country.
The incident took place on Wednesday when Suresh Gopi visited Puthur district to distribute aid to families hit by a storm. The local residents pointed out to him that the fallen trees in the area had not been removed by the forest department.
He approached Ollur SI C J Antony, who was sitting in the police jeep and asked him to come out. He then told the SI, "I am an MP, not a Mayor. There can be a salute."
Following which the SI immediately saluted him.
The incident became viral after a local channel telecast it. The police association came in support of the SI saying that according to protocol, MPs and MLAs need not be saluted.
Reacting to the controversy, Suresh Gopi today told media persons in Kottayam that he would not accept political discrimination in the name of salute.
"Whose association? The association doesn't belong to the democratic setup. If they believe so, let them come to the parliament and complain to my chairman. We will see," he said.
The BJP MP further hit back at the police association in Kerala by stating that people can't carry such an association.
"This association is just for their welfare. They don't need to play politics using it. If so, we can see," he said.
When asked about the protocol regarding saluting, Suresh Gopi asked who set the protocol.
" Who said it? Is this only in Kerala? There is a system in place in India and everyone has to abide by it. Who has given police the direction (not to salute)? If it is state DGP, let him say it," he said
Further, he said, "If you ask my opinion salute itself should be done away with. None should be saluted. But if there is political discrimination in salute, then we will not take it. Let any association interfere." (ANI)