Photos of Vijayapura policemen in saffron attire kick up a political storm
Siddaramaiah asks CM to quit if he cannot uphold constitutional principles
Pictures of Vijayapura police sporting saffron shawls for Vijayadashami and Kaup police wearing saffron shirts posted on social media kicked up a political storm on Sunday.
Pictures of Vijayapura Superintendent of Police Anand Kumar and other police personnel wearing white kurta pyjama with saffron shawls taken before the rural police station were shared widely on social media.
These pictures attracted strong criticism from Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah who took Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai to task over such a trend and asked him to quit if he could not uphold constitutional principles.
“This is not a jungle raj like Yogi Adityanath’s Uttar Pradesh. Karnataka has a tradition of providing good governance,” Mr. Siddaramaiah tweeted.
“Why did you only change the police uniform? Provide trident and ask them to indulge in violence. Your dreams of establishing jungle raj could come true,” he told the Chief Minister.
He also tagged two group photographs of the police personnel at Kaup police station in Udupi district and Vijayapura Rural Police station. The police personnel in these police stations had shed their khaki uniform to don the saffron on Vijayadashami day. While personnel in Vijayapura wore a saffron shawl, at Kaup police personnel they wore a saffron shirt.
“After the Chief Minister justified hooliganism as reaction to an action, it seems the police have locked up the law in the police station and have taken to the streets to bring jungle raj. It is better for the public to remain at home for their safety,” he said.
Further, he stated: “On the one hand, police illegally harass youth and on the other a legislator storms into a police station to get the accused released. Elsewhere, tridents are distributed openly and calls are given for violence. All these get open support from the Chief Minister. Is there governance in the State?”
A police officer from Vijayapura said that such Vijayadashami celebrations were held in several police stations. The Superintendent of Police attended the celebrations in the rural police station. Other officers attended the celebrations in other stations, the senior officer said. He, however, declined to react to the comments the pictures had received on social media. N. Satish Kumar, IGP, Northern Range, said that he would look into the issue and see if any service rules were violated.
Coming to the support of the police, Udupi MLA K. Raghupati Bhat tweeted that on special occasions the police do wear traditional dress. In terms of uniformity, all have worn similar coloured dress. If its ‘kesari’ what is wrong in it. Taking on Mr. Siddaramaiah, Mr. Bhat said: “You have displayed sword on Tipu Jayanti. You have also worn traditional cap when you visited mosques. And, you call this religious harmony and secular conduct. People like you, who are in responsible position, should see everybody in equanimity.”
A senior police official from Udupi, who did not want to be quoted, told
The Hindu that usually police do wear traditional dress on special occasions and Kaup police had done the same on Ayudha Puja Day. There is nothing amiss in dress they wore, he added.