PATNA: Police personnel in Bihar's Samastipur district, seeking leave for Chhath festival, are reportedly said to have been made to sign a 'pledge' that they needed the holiday to observe austerities and that "curse may befall" on their kith and kin if they told a lie.
The matter came to light on Wednesday when images of the pro forma, many of these purportedly filled up and signed by junior rank police officials, went viral on social media.
"A serious note has been taken by us about these reports. A Deputy SP rank officer has been asked to inquire as to by whose direction such forms are being filled up, if at all the reports are true", Samastipur Superintendent of Police Vikash Burman told PTI over the phone.
He said that there has been "no official communication for filling up of such forms".
The four-day long Chhath festival will be celebrated from Thursday.
"The question of granting leaves by signing any document does not arise since all leaves of policemen have been cancelled by the headquarters in view of the requirement of heavy deployment across the state to ensure law and order during the festivities", Burman asserted.
Meanwhile, the Bihar Policemen's Association reacted with indignation, saying that making applicants sign such a pledge was tantamount to "assault on religious sentiments and mistrust in the integrity of lower rank officials".
"Our WhatsApp group is flooded with messages of outrage. According to our information, there are more than 400 police personnel in Samastipur and out of whom less than 10 per cent may require leaves.
"Should they be subjected to such humiliation? I am going to meet top officials at the headquarters in this regard", the Association's president Mrityunjay Singh told reporters.