Cops may get to celebrate Onam with families

Row over alleged move to restrict leave for police personnel in city

A decision to mobilise the entire police force in the city for maintenance of law and order by restricting leave to police personnel during Onam seems to have been rolled back in the face of stiff resentment among the rank and file of the force.

A circular issued by Inspector General of Police and District Police Chief (Kochi City) Vijay Sakhare citing a direction from the police headquarters said that “the entire police force in Kochi city stands mobilised from September 6 for the police bandobust arrangements in connection with the Onam festival.”

It further stated that leave or permission to police personnel should be granted only for unavoidable occasions after getting prior sanction and asked all Station House Officers (SHOs) in Kochi city to utilise the optimum manpower at their stations to maintain law and order.

It obviously didn’t go down well with the members of the force at a time when the stressful conditions under which police personnel operate are being widely debated.

Following this, office-bearers of the Kerala Police Association met Mr. Sakhare and conveyed the resentment in the force against the perceived move to deny leave for personnel.

When contacted, Mr. Sakhare denied any such move and said that police personnel would be allowed to take leave in two lots. “Given a choice, I would love to ask every police officer to go and enjoy Onam with their family. But that is obviously not possible in the Police Department. So, half of the force will go on leave tomorrow and the other half the day after tomorrow,” he said.

Office-bearers of KPA said that the District Police Chief (Kochi City) was convinced of the resentment in the force and had agreed to issue necessary directions for granting leave to police personnel to celebrate Onam with their families.

What accentuated the heartburn of police personnel in the city were the circulars issued by the district police chiefs of Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode cities, which seemed far more lenient.

The circular issued by the District Police Chief (Thiruvananthapuram city) said that all police officers up to the rank of assistant sub inspectors who work on the festive days from September 11 to 13 should be granted two days compensatory off after September 18.

His counterpart in Kozhikode city directed the SHOs to make arrangements for facilitating police personnel to celebrate Onam with their families without disrupting work. It was further directed that the number of flying squads could be limited to 12 during day time on September 10 and 11 and be restored to full strength in the night.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 5:48:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/cops-may-get-to-celebrate-onam-with-families/article29386684.ece

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