Nitish strips the top brass after stripping case

Right from the superintendent of police of Patna to the Bihar Director General of Police and the chief secretary, many senior officials have been shuffled in the last few days.

Though officially it was said that the transfers were a routine, Nitish Kumar, it is said, was seething with rage over the shameful incident which brought much disrepute to Bihar. His angst was quite palpable when he ordered en mass transfer of all those who mattered in governance. As a first step, he gave marching orders to the IG, (Patna zone), DIG, senior SP and City SP of Patna.

As if this was not enough, he shuffled nearly 24 IAS officers and 50 IPS officers with a stern message that everybody has to provide the much-needed momentum to the credo of ‘Sushashan’ (good governance) as promised by him in 2005.

The reshuffle also saw the appointment of Anup Mukherjee as the new chief secretary, replacing present incumbent R J M Pillai. Senior-most IAS officer Pillai opted for voluntary retirement.

In order to give fresh impetus to the police force, a new DGP Anand Shankar will take over from August 1. The 1973-batch IPS officer, known for his no-nonsense approach, has already sent a loud and clear message to his men-in-uniform: “They will have to make do with their salary. Corruption will invite stern action. I will first counsel them affectionately to perform their duties honestly. If they don’t adhere to my advice, there are provisions in the law to deal with them.”

Meanwhile, the woman, who was stripped, is cooling her heels in a remand home, as her husband has so far not taken her back. Working as a carpenter in Kolkata, her husband had come over to Patna after the police asked him to do so, but he left the very same day on the pretext that he had to look after his two children who were alone in West Bengal.

The background

The woman, left to fend for herself, is supposedly of shady character. She came in contact with one Rakesh, a dubious man, at Jasidih (Jharkhand) where her in-laws stay. The lure of lucre brought her to Patna where she reportedly entered into the flesh trade business. Last week, a brawl took place between the woman and Rakesh over the payment received from a ‘customer.’

While she wanted Rs 4,000 as her ‘earning,’ she was given only Rs 1,000. She reportedly took Rakesh’s mobile and left the hotel. It was then that Rakesh and his goons accosted her on Exhibition Road, roughed up mercilessly and stripped her while searching for the mobile.

After the much brouhaha, both of them were taken into police custody. While the hotel owner and Rakesh were sent  to jail, she was packed off to Patna Remand Home. She was eventually produced before the Human Rights Commission, which has now asked the police to send her to her family members if nobody comes forward to take her custody.

The incident may be forgotten after a while, but one question which will haunt everyone is: “This happened at a public place in front of scores of people. Why didn’t anyone bother to prevent the guilty persons from stripping the woman?”

Nitish has an answer: “The incident is a blot on the society. But then, this is also a problem with the society, which, of late, has become quite insensitive. You can change the government, but not the society.”

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