‘Is this fair?’ ask cops charged with lathi-charging Ramdev followers

Say it was not in their capacity to act on their own

pankaj

Pankaj Kumar | June 12, 2012


Sub-inspector Sushil Kumar
Sub-inspector Sushil Kumar

At the Kamla market police station, a police sentry was standing taut. Behind the façade of his disciplined gesture was a deep anguish which bordered on acute depression. Sweltering heat did not bother him. But he was concerned about the fate of his fellow policemen who have been arraigned in the court for using force to drive out sympathisers of Baba Ramdev from the Ramlila Maidan on June 4, 2011.

“Is this fair?” he asked the Governance Now correspondent when the latter tried to find out his reaction on the issue. “Can you believe a police sub-inspector or constable could take such a decision?” He shot another question by way of answering my queries. Apparently, the seething anger within the constable has sharpened his inquisitive instincts. “But whatever has happened is not good for the morale of the force,” he makes a terse statement, making it clear repeatedly that his conversation is off-record.

The sentry at the police station was the symbol of frustration and anger seething in the lower rung of policemen in Delhi. This surfaced when six lower-level officers ranging from the police inspector to constables were indicted for carrying out unprovoked lathi-charge in Ramlila Maidan on devotees of Baba Ramdev. The police action that led to one death and serious injuries to many Baba Ramdev sympathisers prompted the supreme court to take suo motu congnisance in the case.

Sushil Kumar is one of the six policemen indicted in the case. The 30-year-old sub-inspector posted with the Kamla Market police station was assigned the duty of clearing the ground of devotees. He was given specific instruction to drive away the crowd. “I have done my duty to the best of my ability,” he said. “I have lived half of my life and I am prepared to face this challenge in the court,” he said stoically. “I do not want to say anything further as it would land me in trouble,” he said ending his conversation.

Another police constable Dinesh Kumar went to his native place in Rajasthan when the news of his indictment was flashed. Talking to Governance Now on phone, he said, “We take life as it comes. Do you believe that we decided to use force at the Ramlila Maidan?” His statement implies that it is beyond the capacity of the lower-level police officers to take such a drastic action against Baba Ramdev who was feted and cajoled by a group of four senior-most ministers in the UPA government only a few days before at the Delhi airport.

The anger reflected in these sentiments is not an aberration. An entire rank of the Delhi police constabulary and officers at the level of sub-inspectors are feeling quite let down by the leadership of Delhi. The fact that Delhi police commissioner BK Gupta was on the spot when the flush-out operation was carried has been conveniently ignored in the charge-sheet. What seems to be extremely disturbing is the fact that the Delhi police has been conducting a sham on the pretext of investigation even when the supreme court has been monitoring the case.

 

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