Police constable Ramesh, who had landed in trouble for using a sticker of Che Guevara on his motorbike, was suspended from duty till further orders. He was put under suspension for disobeying his senior officer’s order and for lack of discipline.
Leaders and activists opined that using an image of Che Guevara on a motorbike did not deserve such punishment.
On his suspension, constable Ramesh said, “When I went for duty on Wednesday morning, I was given my suspension order. I was suspended for disobedience and lack of discipline, as stated in the order. But since I joined duty in 2003, I have been a dedicated worker. I have been waiting for promotion as grade one constable, probably by this year end. Now because of this suspension, my promotion will be affected and the 10 years of hard work will be in vain.”
On the usage of a sticker of the leader, he said, “I do not belong to or favour any party. I have been honest in my duty, and have been an admirer of Che right from my childhood. The sticker of Che has been on my motorbike for the past four years.”
Leaders and social activists said Che Guevara was like Bhagat Singh in India and there was nothing wrong in using his image on a motorbike.
G Ramakrishnan, state secretary of CPM, said “Many see Che Guevara merely as a hero rather than understanding his ideology. It is true that policemen should not support any party, but merely using his image should not be seen as a political act. He might have used the sticker because of respect for Che.”
Human rights activist professor Kalyani, said, “There are many other things that need to be corrected in the police department. Using a Che sticker is not a problem. Higher officers should have sought an explanation from the constable before taking action against him.”
Activists pointed out that even senior government officers had quoted Che Guevara in their writings and articles as an inspirational hero.