Protest exposes chink in top cop-juniors ties

A Delhi policewoman shouts slogans during a protest after clashes erupted between police and lawyers last week outside their headquarters in New Delhi, India, November 5, 2019. (Reuters photo)

A poster “We need you” with a picture of former IPS officer Kiran Bedi, who is presently Puducherry Lieutenant Governor, outside Delhi Police headquarters and chants like ‘Police Commissioner kaisa ho, Kiran Bedi jaisa ho’ summed it up all -- police personnel’s anger and lack of trust on the present leadership of the force.

Another poster had mentioned about another retired IPS officer Deepak Mishra, who could not make it to the post of Delhi Police Commissioner

It took almost 11 hours for the Delhi Police top brass to make the protesters leave the site despite repeated attempts by senior officials, including Commissioner Amulya Patnaik, emphasising the loss of trust between the top leadership and junior officers, including constabulary.

Patnaik bore the brunt as he was booed when he addressed the protesters and asked them to join duty. “We have to behave like a disciplined force. The government and the people expect us to uphold the law, it is our big responsibility. I urge you to resume duty,” Patnaik said but his juniors shouted back, “Police Commissioner kaisa ho, Kiran Bedi jaisa ho”.

The reference to Bedi reminded the 1988 episode when she was Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) and lawyers clashed with police after an advocate was arrested and handcuffed in a petty case. Lawyers objected to the handcuffing and went on a strike.

A series of clashes between police and lawyers took place with the latter alleging that Bedi stood with police and refused to provide protection to the advocates.

During the day, Special Commissioner Satish Golcha and Joint Commissioners Rajesh Khurana and Devesh Srivastava addressed the protesters and attempted to assuage their feelings. But the protesters were adamant that they were not satisfied with their remarks. Later, Patnaik sent an audio message through social media appealing the personnel to return to work.

The protesters were also not worried about coming out in open and speaking to media against their superiors.

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