Law out of order in New Delhi

Police personnel protest in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI

Delhi Police personnel on Tuesday took to streets, gheraoing the Police Headquarters in protest against the recent attack on their colleagues by lawyers over a parking dispute, with the unprecedented dissent finally coming to an end at night after assurances from the police top brass. 

The 11-hour protest ended after Special Commissioner of Police (Crime) Satish Golcha assured them that a review petition will be filed against the Delhi High Court order in connection with the clash between police and lawyers at the Tis Hazari court complex.

The senior officer said injured policemen will get an ex gratia of at least Rs 25,000.

With the situation threatening to get out of control, the Centre approached the HC urging that its order for no coercive action against advocates should not be applicable to incidents like the one in Saket, where a policeman was attacked. The Home Ministry has also received a report from the Delhi Police.

The protest, which threw traffic out of gear on one of national capital’s busiest roads, is being seen as a manifestation of lower ranks’ lack of confidence in Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik. But questions were also raised on Home Minister Amit Shah’s silence on the episode.

Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju was the lone minister to tweet in support but he deleted it later.

However, the IAS Association, IPS Association and other police associations in states came out in support of the protesters.

Police personnel from junior ranks started gathering outside the old police headquarters near ITO around 10 am to express their anger and anguish over the attack in Tis Hazari court complex on Saturday and the one in Saket courts on Monday.

On Sunday, the Delhi High Court had transferred two senior police officials pending judicial inquiry. Slogans like “We Want Justice”, “We are not Punching Bags” and “Protectors Need Protection” rented the air as the police rank and file sought to make their point through peaceful protest.

Some even turned to Bollywood for inspiration, with the now-famous question from ‘Uri’ — ‘How’s the josh?’ — adorning one of the placards with a cheeky reply ‘Low sir’.
With tension running high, Patnaik addressed the protesters around 1 pm, appealing to them to resume duty as he was hopeful that there will be a fair closure to the judicial inquiry.

“The last few days have been testing for us. A judicial inquiry has been ordered. Let the law take its course,” he said.

But his appeal didn’t cut any ice with the police personnel as they continued to protest; some even booed the commissioner.

Later in the day, some of them also entered the headquarters by scaling the iron gates.

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