Bengaluru: Chief Minister Siddharamaiah-led Congress government that is facing severe opposition from other political parties including BJP and JD(S) over the ‘crumbling law and order machinery in the State’ has another problem or call it ‘embarrassment’ to deal with.
With elections round the corner, a senior IPS Officer is crying foul over political interference in the functioning of the Police Department. Citing the recent incidents of attacks on Lokayukta Justice P. Vishwanath Shetty, goondaism of Mohammad Nalapad Haris, son of Shanthinagar Congress MLA N.A. Haris and a Congress leader’s threat to torch Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) office at K.R. Puram in Bengaluru, the IPS Officer has said that law-breakers no longer fear the Police.
In a letter to Chief Secretary K. Ratna Prabha, IPS Officers’ (Karnataka) Association President and Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Dr. Rajvir Pratap Sharma (R.P. Sharma) has expressed serious dismay over the state of affairs and has urged her to convene a meeting of all IPS Officers and some retired IPS Officers to discuss “threadbare and evolve a strategy considering our immediate goal of a fair and free election and long-term goal of imbibing strong professional values in the service and Police force of Karnataka.”
Stating that frequent interference by politicians and others had led to the public losing confidence in the Police, the letter, written on Mar. 8, said they had further demoralised the Police force.
Sharma has, in his four-page letter, listed the recent attack on Lokayukta Justice P. Vishwanath Shetty, the attack by Mohammad Nalapad Haris on Vidvat Loganathan at a cafe at UB city in Bengaluru, the assault on IAS Officer and former Director-General of Administrative Training Institute (ATI) Mysuru V. Rashmi Mahesh and former Mysuru Deputy Commissioner C. Shikha and the attempt to set on fire to a BBMP Office by a Congress leader in Bengaluru as incidents of serious concern. “This indicates serious chinks in the armour of the security fabric,” he has stated in his letter.
Conveying his serious displeasure over political interference in Police duties, Sharma said, “IPS Officers have been punished for discharging their duties, but during the meeting with you, I will bring to your notice many specific instances of recent past so as to demonstrate how Officers have been demoralised.”
“Investigations have been hijacked by politicians in important cases and law-breakers have lost the fear of the Police. Again, I am not trying to be specific at the moment, but I will give specific instances to show that flow of the investigation was changed at political behest. The specialised agencies headed by senior IPS Officers have also become redundant on account of such interference,” Sharma has said in his letter.
Opposing frequent transfers of Police Officers, Sharma has said, “The tenure has become a casualty and even the Bangalore City Police Commissioner’s post has been occupied by six officers in the last four-and-a-half years. Thus, the continuity, the command formation and, of course, the intrinsic confidence in the service members is at abysmally low levels,” Sharma has contended.
“Senior IAS Officers and various common people are victims of these attacks in an environment which could be presumed very safe in normal circumstances. The Indian Police Service in Karnataka had a strong tradition, but today it is seen as a pale shadow of its past. Because of frequent transfers of IPS Officers, the continuity, command formation and, of course, the intrinsic confidence in service members, all is at an abysmally low level”, R.P. Sharma wrote.
“The legacy to the next generation (is what) service leaders have to leave and I am extremely unsure that eccentric location of power, with loss of chain of command and, of course, declining sense of responsibility towards the common man besides day by day increasing loyalty to men in power for wrong reasons, is antithetical towards such a legacy,” he added.
It is his personal view, says CMO
Secretary of the IPS Officers’ (Karnataka) Association Pronab Mohanty has termed R.P. Sharma’s views as personal. Soon after the contents of Sharma’s letter flashed in media, the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), in a communique, said that Mohanty, who is in Delhi, spoke to CM Siddharamaiah over phone and said the issues raised by Sharma were not discussed in the IPS Association.
The communique said the issues raised by Sharma are his personal views and have no backing of the Executive Committee of the Association. It was not discussed in the Board Meeting of the Association. The government has taken a serious view of Sharma’s conduct and is likely to take disciplinary action.
‘Law and order handled by goondas’
Reacting to R.P. Sharma’s letter, former Home Minister and BJP leader R. Ashok minced no words and said that the State’s law and order was handled by goondas. “Honest Police Officers are being victimised and if such Officers have to face the harassment, think of the common man. Dy.SP. M.K. Ganapathy committed suicide, the government did not support senior IAS Officers Rashmi Mahesh and C. Shikha when hooligans attacked them, sons of MLAs and Congress workers have entered the streets and showing their goondaism. The attack on Lokayukta has proved that even Judges have no security. Chief Minister must take moral responsibility and resign as he has no right to be in power.”
– R. Ashok, former Home Minister
People have to decide
The Police force in Karnataka cannot function independently and fearlessly in this political set up led by Congress. I have said this many times and have given many instances of political interferences. What ADGP R.P. Sharma has written to Chief Secretary proves my point.”
“A senior IPS Officer writing to Chief Secretary will not bring in changes. People of Karnataka have to decide and changing the government is in their hands.”
– Shankar Bidari, Retired Director General of Police
‘Karnataka will overtake Bihar if political interference continues’
The Police Department has its own dignity and respect and the IPS Officers have the responsibility of maintaining and safeguarding this dignity. A situation has arisen in the State where prompt IPS Officers cannot function due to constant political interference. R.P. Sharma has taken the right step in writing to the Chief Secretary and I am glad that he has taken this bold step at least now and it is a welcome move. Chief Secretary K. Ratna Prabha has to immediately convene a meeting of IPS Officers and take steps to save the honour of the Police Department. I don’t have the confidence that the Chief Secretary will do that as she will retire on Mar. 31. Karnataka will overtake Bihar if political interference continues. And there is no doubt about this.”
– N. Nagaraju, Retired Superintendent of Police and Former President, Karnataka Police Sangha
Impose President’s Rule: MP
Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha has demanded immediate imposition of President’s rule in Karnataka. Reacting to Star of Mysore on ADGP R.P. Sharma’s letter to the Chief Secretary, the MP said that despite many instances of complete collapse of law and order in Karnataka, the Governor has not spoken anything about this. “He has become a ‘mouni baba’ (silent baba). At least now, the Governor must act. Even the Election Commission must take note of this as CM Siddharamaiah can do anything to retain power.”
Citing the instance of the harassment meted out to Nazarbad Police Inspector Mohan as he had booked a case against Siddharamaiah’s son during the election campaign in 2013, Pratap Simha said, “Just because Mohan had booked Siddharamaiah’s son, after coming to power, the CM ensured that Mohan is targeted. There are many examples like this including CM’s aide K. Marigowda abusing Mysuru DC C. Shikha, the suicides of Dy.SP M.K. Ganapathy (pointing accusing fingers at Minister K.J. George and Police Officers Pronab Mohanty and A.M. Prasad) and IAS Officer D.K. Ravi. All these prove the amount of harassment officers are facing under Congress rule. It is unfortunate that to retain power, Siddharamaiah is misusing the administrative set up and this is proved by R.P. Sharma’s letter. President’s rule must be imposed immediately.”
– Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha