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Will Srinidhi be stripped of his President's medal?

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N. Srinidhi
N. Srinidhi

K.V. Subramanya

Naxalite blogs celebrate Police Inspector's fall from grace

BANGALORE: Fraser Town Police Inspector N. Srinidhi, who has been suspended from service following his arrest on the charge of torturing his wife for more dowry, appears to be in for more trouble.

Following his arrest, the State Women's Commission has decided to appeal to the Government to withdraw the President's Gallantry Medal awarded to Mr. Srinidhi.

Women's Commission Chairperson Premila Nesargi told The Hindu she would appeal to the Government to strip Mr. Srinidhi of the honour. "A man arrested for beating his wife should not be given such a coveted medal," she said.

Mr. Srinidhi bagged the Gallantry Medal during the last Independence Day for his role in the killing of the naxalite ideologue Saketh Rajan in an encounter in Chikmagalur district in February 2005.

Mr. Srinidhi, then Kudremukh Police Inspector, was injured in the encounter and was treated at a Bangalore hospital. As Kudremukh Inspector he also received the Chief Minister's Gold Medal for 2004.

Investiture ceremony

The President's Medal awarded to Mr. Srinidhi and other officers on the occasion of Independence Day 2006 is to be presented to them by Governor T.N. Chaturvedi at an investiture ceremony at the Raj Bhavan shortly, sources in the Police Department said. The State Government has no powers to withdraw the medal awarded by the President. But the President can do so if a court convicts the officer, the sources said.

Meanwhile, reports on Mr. Srinidhi's arrest has been prominently posted on naxalite blogs. For instance, naxalrevoloution.blogspot.com has stories with the headlines "Khaki rakshas who killed Comrade Saketh Rajan now in jail for beating his wife" and "Cop decorated for gunning down Maoist jailed for beating wife".

Prior embarrassment

A few days before he was arrested by the Vijayanagar police on May 14, Mr. Srinidhi faced another embarrassing situation. A jury headed by a former High Court Chief Justice had selected him as one of the three best police officers in Karnataka for the awards sponsored by a private Kannada television channel. When the details of the awards were published in a newspaper, a senior IPS officer summoned him to his chamber and took him to task for sending his nomination for the award without the consent of senior officials.

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