A senior police official allegedly knelt down before Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and touched his feet like other disciples triggering a huge controversy.
Praveen Singh, a circle officer (CO), posted in Gorakhpur, Adityanath's hometown, not only touched the chief minister's feet but also applied 'tilak' on latter's forehead on the occasion of 'Guru Purnima' on Friday at Gorakhnath Temple in Gorakhpur.
The matter came to light when Singh shared pictures showing him touching Adityanath's feet on the social media. He, however, deleted the post after the controversy.
The state government, which found itself on the back foot on the matter, clarified that the officer had knelt down not before a chief minister but a 'mahant' (head of mutt). Adityanath was also the head of Gorakshpeeth.
''Bowing before a religious figure is different from cleaning the sandals of someone,'' a senior government official said on Saturday apparently referring to the touching of feet of the then chief minister Mayawati by a senior state cop.
He said that the function that was organised at the Gorakhnath Temple on Guru Purnima had immense significance for the people, who were associated with the same.
Samajwadi Party (SP), however, said that the incident was reflective of the fact that the police had ''totally surrendered'' before the chief minister and was behaving as his personal servant. ''The cop must be immediately suspended,'' said SP leader Sunil Singh.