NEW DELHI: The unprecedented revolt by the constabulary of Delhi Police against the top brass demanding the removal of Commissioner of Police Amulya Patnaik highlights the continuous victimization of lower rank officials in the force for the last four years.
The police protest in the national capital is a lesson for the lawmakers about their role in selecting the police chief and also for the top brass to get out of the ivory tower and meet the men on the ground.
Thousands of police personnel, from the rank of constable to inspectors, assembled at India Gate and made a clarion call for bringing back as head of the force retired IPS officer Kiran Bedi, now Lt Governor of Puducherry, and IPS officer Deepak Mishra, who retired as Special DG of CRPF last year.
The names of Bedi and Mishra reverberated at the protest venues -- Police Headquarters at ITO and India Gate -- from morning till night.
Both the officers were very close to their men and young IPS officers and they would stand behind them even under huge political pressure. However, both the officers paid the price for not becoming Commissioner of Delhi Police.
Bedi, as deputy commissioner of police for northern Delhi in 1988, took head-on the lawyers who had stormed her office, shouting obscenities and threatening to rip her clothes off. The clashes started with the arrest and handcuffing of a lawyer for petty theft. When police officials were beaten up, Bedi stormed the Tis Hazari court complex with 3,000 men to take on the lawyers.
In the first tenure of Aam Aadmi Party government in 2013, the then Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal sat in dharna outside Railway Bhawan near Parliament demanding suspension of five policemen. Deepak Mishra, as Special Commissioner of Police in-charge of law and order, ensured that not a single man got suspended on the whims and fancies of political leaders. He also took on the AAP government head-on.
Mishra, who was behind setting up the force's anti-terror unit Special Cell -- ensured his men do not face any problem on the ground and had the courage to face the political and bureaucratic ire for them. Further, when bikers raided Delhi during night hours and taunted police personnel, Mishra took control of the situation himself and ended the menace.
The constabulary wants the Union Home Minister Amit Shah to act soon and remove Patnaik and find ways to bring either of the officers back in Delhi. "The government can bring Kiran Bedi as Lieutenant Governor of Delhi or appoint Deepak Mishra as LG. What's wrong in that? It is not possible to work with Amulya Patnaik any more," said many inspectors and police personnel present at the protest venue.
The constabulary, who were annoyed with Patnaik's leadership for the frequent suspensions of police personnel over petty issues, revolted against him for suspending fellow policemen as well two senior officers -- Sanjay Singh and Harendra Singh -- who stood by them when they were beaten up in Tis Hazari court complex.
Even family members of police personnel from around 41 police colonies came in large numbers to show their solidarity to the cops who were beaten up by lawyers for two consecutive days in Delhi.
Further, the constabulary found that Patnaik remained quiet and did exactly what lawyers demanded, ignoring the fact that a female Deputy Commissioner of Police was allegedly molested by a group of goons during the scuffle.
The constabulary has been unhappy with Patnaik turning a blind eye towards welfare measures apart from their victimization. Sources said the constabulary and even officers were also annoyed with Patnaik's way of running the force wherein "various camps" were formed within the force and all were busy appeasing the commissioner. Those who came up with independent and innovative ideas were transferred.
Several police personnel said that Patnaik, who is to retire in January, throughout his tenure was busy in appeasement rather than focusing on law and order or their welfare. "He did not visit the policeman who received gunshot injuries," said a senior police officer, adding that he was busy in "saving his position as the police chief".
In total, there are around 1,400 inspectors, around 7,000 sub-inspectors, around 7,500 assistant sub-inspectors, around 21,000 head constables and 49,000 constables and multi-tasking staffers.
Living in pathetic conditions, these personnel, considered the backbone of policing in the national Capital, are busy 24x7 protecting VIPs and nabbing dreaded criminals. Patnaik never bothered to expedite construction of a new housing colony at Dheerpur for the police personnel. In fact, the housing satisfaction level in the force is just 18 per cent.
As per documents accessed by IANS, a total of 15,818 quarters are available for 84,536 police personnel. Only 5,224 quarters are available for 49,001 constables and multi-tasking staffers. Similarly, the number of head constables and assistant sub-inspectors is 27,569, and there are only 8,672 quarters for them. There are just 1,623 quarters for around 8,500 sub-inspectors and inspectors.
However, Patnaik was busy getting a new police headquarters at Jaisingh Road in the national capital. This has also irked the lower rank officials.
Sources in the Union Home Ministry stated that heads are likely to roll in the force and a decision will be taken very soon.