Delhi

Police protest: personnel make their point, move on

Delhi police personnel during a protest in New Delhi earlier this month.

Delhi police personnel during a protest in New Delhi earlier this month.   | Photo Credit: File Photo: R.V. Moorthy

As things return to normal, both junior and senior officers dismiss the Nov. 5 agitation as a ‘sudden outburst’ triggered by assault on a colleague

Normality has returned to the rank and file of Delhi Police after the November 5 protest, which saw a significant number of police personnel come onto the streets demanding restoration of the “dignity of the khaki uniform”.

Sources said the incident has had one major impact: the top brass of the force has been directed to mend fences with subordinates and be more open to addressing their grievances.

Policemen who took part in the protest, staged outside the old police headquarters at ITO, do not want to discuss the matter any more. “We have to move on in life. Relationship between lawyers and police is improving. The protest was a sudden outburst triggered by the video showing a policeman being slapped by lawyers on Saket Court premises. We are a part of the criminal justice system and are bound by duties and law,” said a constable posted in North district.

'No more discussions'

The demand for setting up a Delhi police union for the welfare of personnel has also been shelved. Even senior police officers who failed to convince the protesters do not want to discuss the issue any more. “We are a disciplined force and their [police personnel] anger was justified because one of their colleagues was thrashed by lawyers for no reason. They were feeling helpless as the matter was in court. We took their concern in a positive way and re-appealed in the High Court for relief. We are a family. No disciplinary action has been ordered against any policeman who attended the protest. We do not want to discuss or remember the protest,” said a senior police officer.

A head constable who attended the protest said they were forced to raise their voice against the attack on their colleague because the authorities were silent.

“We could have responded to the situation like the lawyers did, but we did not want to make things ugly or bring a bad name to our department. We staged a peaceful protest and dispersed without causing much inconvenience to the public,” he said.

A woman constable posted in North district said the November 5 agitation at PHQ was a symbolic protest to save the dignity of the police uniform. “During that ongoing situation [lawyers-police clash], it was required to highlight the sufferings of an on-duty policeman. The protest was never against senior officers but an outburst against injustice,” she said.

Flak over JNU stir

Facing flak for allegedly using force on protesting JNU students on November 18, just two weeks after their own personnel took to the streets demanding justice, the Delhi police maintained that they used minimum force to disperse the university students.

A sub-inspector posted in New Delhi area said that round the year he stops scores of protesters heading towards Parliament and in most of the cases, the stir ends peacefully after the protesters are made to talk to senior police officers.

According to Delhi Police records, a total of 8,594 permissions for public gatherings, including 406 rallies and 5,541 dharnas, were granted in the city in 2018.

“People on social media trolled the Delhi police for resorting to lathi-charge on JNU students, but they should know that the police tried to stop the protesters at several points and even tried to talk to them, but they refused to listen. Protest staged by the police cannot be compared with the JNU agitation, they are two different things,” said the sub-inspector.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 8:07:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/police-protest-personnel-make-their-point-move-on/article30070815.ece

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