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Delhi Police personnel end stir after assurance; unprecedented development deals huge embarrassment to Centre

The unprecedented development caused a major embarrassment not only to Delhi Police, which reports to the Centre but also to the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA), which is in charge of Delhi Police.

SNS/PTI | New Delhi |

In an unprecedented development, Delhi Police on Tuesday faced a virtual revolt from its rank and file as thousands of its personnel took to the streets and staged a demonstration outside the city police headquarters in the heart of the national capital to protest against attacks on some of their colleagues allegedly by lawyers over the last few days.

The protesting personnel of Delhi Police continued their protest throughout the day and till late evening. The agitating policemen and policewomen, demanding justice in the wake of 2 November lawyers-police clashes at Delhi’s Tis Hazari court complex, were also joined by their family members.

They ended their nearly 11-hour-long protest on Tuesday after assurance by senior officers that their grievances will be addressed. Special commissioner of police (crime) Satish Golcha urged them to end stir and resume duty, while assuring them that a review petition will be filed against the Delhi High Court order in connection with the Tis Hazari court incident. He also said the injured policemen will get an ex-gratia of at least Rs 25,000 each.

Earlier in the day, the protesting cops, who virtually laid siege to their police headquarters (PHQ) in the busy ITO area here, even rejected Delhi Police commissioner Amulya Patnaik’s pleas to them to end their stir and go back to work.

The unprecedented development caused a major embarrassment not only to Delhi Police, which reports to the Centre, but also to the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA), which is in charge of Delhi Police. A section of lawyers and police personnel had clashed at the Tis Hazari court complex on 2 November in which a number of lawyers and police personnel were injured and many vehicles burnt or vandalised.

The lawyers’ side had alleged that four of their colleagues were injured, including one in police firing. Delhi Police had however denied that it had opened fire. Bar associations had condemned the incident and the lawyers in Delhi High Court and district courts have boycotted their work in protest against the alleged police high-handedness.

In the wake of the Delhi High Court’s orders, Delhi Police took action against a few policemen accused of attacking lawyers. Shouting slogans like “We want justice” and “Go back, go back” as their senior officers appealed for calm, the surging crowd of protesting police personnel, in uniform as well as in civvies, appeared to be unrelenting in their demand as the hours passed. By evening, many of them and their family members even started moving towards India Gate for a candlelight vigil.

Wearing black bands and carrying placards with slogans such as “We are human in police uniforms”, “We are not punching bags” and “Protectors need protection”, the protesting cops urged their seniors to stand with them to “save the honour of the uniform”.

“No police officer nor any politician went to the hospital to check on our injured colleagues. It is disappointing and demoralising for us,” said a woman constable. Faced with angry cops, Patnaik came out of his office to assure them that their concerns will be addressed.

“We have to behave like a disciplined force. The government and the people expect us to uphold the law, it is our big responsibility. I urge you to resume duty,” Patnaik told them.

“The last few days have been testing for us. A judicial enquiry is underway and I request you to have faith in the process,” the city police chief told them.

Delhi Police has a strength of over 80,000 personnel.

Recalling a 1988 lawyers-cops clash, many in the crowd remembered former IPS officer Kiran Bedi, who is currently Puducherry Lieutenant Governor. Some were carrying posters of Bedi, chanting slogans like “Our commissioner should be like Kiran Bedi”.

Even after Patnaik addressed the protesters, they refused to disperse and demanded that an association be formed for them. “We are the ones who face the brunt. We are beaten up and want that there should be an association to look into our issues and take up the problems faced by us with the top brass,” said a protester.

Their protest caused traffic jams at several places in and around the ITO area. Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal reviewed the situation. Special commissioner (intelligence) Praveer Ranjan briefed the LG on the prevailing situation and also on the related high court orders.

The LG said that advocates and police are important pillars of the criminal justice system and they should work in complete harmony.

“In the wake of the recent unfortunate incident, it is imperative to restore the trust between the two and also to ensure that justice is done impartially in the entire matter,” said a statement issued by the LG office.

He also advised the police top brass to assure the police personnel that no injustice will be allowed to be done to any member of the force. The Centre is closely monitoring the situation. The MHA received a report from Delhi Police on 2 November clashes.

“We are closely monitoring the situation in Delhi. A judicial inquiry has been ordered. Let us wait for the outcome of the inquiry,” a senior MHA official said. The judicial inquiry into the Tis Hazari court clashes was ordered by the Delhi High Court on 3 November and its report has to be submitted within six weeks.

Tuesday’s development made waves across the country with a slew of top serving and retired police officers and their organisations like the IPS Association expressing solidarity with colleagues subjected to “humiliation” and “assault”, even as they condemned attacks on them.