As DK Shivakumar Plays Tough Cop, is Siddaramaiah Govt Off on the Wrong Foot With Karnataka Police?


Karnataka was ranked first in the country for justice delivery in April this year, but the same department has now come under fire from Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar, who warned officials that the Congress government will not allow “saffronisation” of the force.

The India Justice report had mentioned Karnataka at the top of 18 other midsize and large states with respect to policing, judiciary, prisons, and providing legal aid.

Just a month later, with the new Congress-led government in place, DK Shivakumar not only wants to send a message down the ranks of the police force that the Congress government is looking to overhaul it from top to bottom to ensure smoother and better functioning, but also a word of caution against those who he alleged were part of “saffronising” the police force during the previous BJP regime.

In the very first law and order review meeting addressed by the newly sworn-in Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy CM Shivakumar on Tuesday, the latter reprimanded senior police officials present in the meeting and asked them to “honour the uniform” and not bring disgrace to the police department. He stressed that the Congress priority was to clean up the old department and restore its integrity and respect.

Saffron Shawls & Saris

In October 2021, pictures had surfaced of officers in the Vijayapura Rural police station (located in northern Karnataka) and Kaup police station (Dakshina Kannada) wearing saffron on the auspicious festival of Vijayadashami. This sparked a political row between the Congress, which was then in the opposition, and the Bommai-led BJP. The Congress accused then Chief Minister Bommai of promoting “jungle raj” (lawlessness) in the department and the state.

In Vijayapura Rural police station, all officers wore traditional white kurta-pyjamas with saffron scarves. In Kaup, which is in coastal Karnataka, male station personnel wore white panche (dhotis) and saffron shirts, while the women officers wore saffron saris.

“Why did you only change the police uniform? Provide ‘trishuls‘ (tridents) and ask them to indulge in violence. Your dreams of establishing jungle raj could come true,” tweeted Siddaramaiah when the issue came to the fore. He had also tagged two photographs as evidence to show how the police personnel shed their khaki uniform to don the saffron clothing.

Then home minister Araga Jnanendra defended the police personnel while accusing Siddaramaiah of raising such issues to gain political mileage among minorities. Jnanendra sought an explanation as to why Siddaramaiah was so opposed to saffron as a colour and whether it was a colour banned in the country.

He had also criticised Siddaramaiah for not commenting on the white skull cap or white kurta many police personnel wear while taking breaks from duty to offer namaz. “When that is respected, why not this?” Jnanendra questioned.

‘Uniform Insulted When Cops Wore Saffron’

“The Karnataka Police Department had a good name in the entire country. But you have brought disgrace to the department. It is a fact that an ADGP-level officer was found to have tampered with the OMR answer scripts in examinations for recruitment of PSIs. This is a clear indication of the department falling from grace,” Shivakumar said while addressing the closed-door meeting with the police officials.

Are you all set to saffronise the police department? We will not allow it under our government,” he declared. “I know how you insulted the Police Department by turning up in saffron attire in Mangaluru, Vijayapura, and Bagalkote. You should have come in saffron clothes today as well for this meeting,” he added sarcastically.

News18 has learnt from sources that several senior officers were uncomfortable with the way the meeting progressed. The state police force has a new DGP, Alok Mohan, and he too was part of the first briefing by the new government.

“It was demoralising, as many of us who are senior officers have served with pride in our uniform. We are committed to a safe Karnataka and will continue to do so,” said a senior officer who sought anonymity.

Another officer also stressed that a couple of isolated incidents should not have been the focus of the meeting. “We are known to be the best police force in the entire country. Our force has sacrificed a lot for it. We will always respect the law and the Constitution,” the officer said.

‘No Action on Threats to Siddaramaiah, Kharge?’

Shivakumar even questioned the integrity and probity of the police as he alleged that the police department officials allegedly “harassed Congress leaders like Priyank Kharge”, who was a whistle-blower in the PSI scam.

He asked why the police did not take action against BJP leader Ashwath Narayan for making a personal attack against Siddaramaiah and had said that “Siddaramaiah should be ‘finished off’ just like the 18th-century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan”.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who was also at the meeting, addressed the officers and asked them to keep a close watch on issues like “moral policing”, which had seen a sharp rise in the past few years. He advised them to break the drug mafia operations in the state, curb goonda-ism, and find effective solutions to ease Bengaluru’s traffic woes.

The CM reiterated that the Congress government has a zero-tolerance policy towards any efforts to disrupt communal harmony, even through social media, and that such attempts should be curbed immediately.

Demoralising the Police, Says Bommai

Former CM Bommai accused the ruling Congress of bringing down the morale of the police force. “The Karnataka Police have a good name in the country, and the police have never indulged in so-called ‘saffronisation’. Both Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar have decided to implement their agenda, and in order to achieve that, they are bringing down the morale of the police department. The Congress has started its appeasement politics from day one of assuming power,” said Bommai.

Source link

Like it? Share with your friends!



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *