Attingal Municipality suspended two employees for allegedly misbehaving with an elderly fish seller and destroying the fish she had for sale on August 10.
Deputy health inspector Mubarak Ismail and agency worker Shibu were suspended after city officials reviewed their explanations and concluded that they should have shown restraint.
The incident took place at Avanavanchery Junction where the vendor, Alphonsa, was selling fish by the side of the road. Municipality employees reportedly used force to confiscate the fish and throw it in a garbage truck. Images of the elderly salesman begging the men and lying on the road in protest had gone viral, sparking outrage.
After the incident snowballed into controversy, the LDF-led municipality issued memos to Mr. Ismail and Mr. Shibu on Monday, demanding an explanation within 48 hours. The explanations were filed on Wednesday.
“The municipality believes that they should have shown restraint,” said S. Kumari, president of the municipality. She denied, however, that the men assaulted the seller as alleged.
Ms. Kumari pointed out that the municipality has received numerous complaints from the public regarding the unauthorized sale of roadside fish. Fish sellers have the choice of using the space of one of the seven markets within the municipality, the president said.
Opposition leader VD Satheesan, former chief minister Oommen Chandy and former opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala were among the leaders who visited Alphonsa after the incident and offered his support.
Reacting to the incident, Labor Minister V. Sivankutty also pledged severe action in the incident.