BHOPAL: Directives issued by the Madhya Pradesh DGP asking police officials to ensure that no person, especially one belonging to SC or ST community, is mistreated in custody drew flak from the BJP on Wednesday.
The opposition party called it an attempt to "divide society" for its reference to specific communities.
In a communication issued on November 4, the state Police Headquarters (PHQ) directed cops across the state to ensure that no person, especially a person belonging to Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes is arrested without following laid-down norms or is mistreated in custody.
The advisory, issued by Director General of Police V K Singh to all district police heads, followed observations made by the National SC/ST Commission that those from backward communities are often mistreated in custody in Madhya Pradesh.
The order went viral on social media and attracted criticism from the opposition party which said such a fiat should apply irrespective of person's caste or community.
"It is an attempt to divide society. Instead of such a directive, the DGP should have issued an order that the rule of law should be followed for all," state BJP spokesperson Rajnish Agrawal said.
"There are many sensitive areas in Madhy Pradesh which had witnessed violence in the past on caste and communal lines. It would have been better if (directives had asked that) existing laws be religiously followed and injustice not done to anyone," he said.
Congress spokesperson Bhupendra Gupta said there was nothing wrong with the directives.
"BJP leaders do not read before reacting. The directives clearly state that any person (should not be mistreated). Reference to SC/ST was especially made as few such incidents were pointed out by the National SC/ST Commission," he said.
Police spokesperson Ashutosh Pratap Singh said the commission had given specific directions over an incident in Alirajpur district where a few tribals were taken into custody and meted out ill-treatment.
It had asked the PHQ and DGP to issue directives to ensure that SC/ST community members are not subjected to such atrocities while in custody, he said.