I am a farmer first and a police officer later: Punjab DIG Prisons quits

Lakhminder Singh Jakhar, Punjab DIG Prisons quits in solidarity with farmers’ protest

Image Courtesy:thekashmirwalla.com

Deputy Inspector General (Prisons) Lakhminder Singh Jakhar, who was posted at Chandigarh, has resigned from his post. He has said this move is his expression of solidarity with the protesting farmers and that he himself is a farmer first.

According to a report in The Indian Express, the 56-year-old officer was suspended in May 2020 when he was posted as Amritsar DIG (Prisons) pending investigations on allegations of corruption. According to the report, a complaint against Jakhar was filed by Deputy Superintendent Vijay Kumar posted at Patti sub-jail, who alleged that Jakhar had demanded a bribe from him in April. Kumar claimed he and another jail employee had paid money to the DIG’s driver. After an inquiry conducted by the IG (Jails) recommended action against Jakhar, he was put under suspension in May.

According to ADGP (Jails) Parveen Kumar Sinha, who was quoted by IE, Jakhar was reinstated about two months ago. The state’s Jail Minister Sukjinder Singh Randhawa told IE that legal opinion on accepting his resignation needs to be taken as an inquiry is still underway. On his part, Jakhar said, “I had submitted my resignation on Saturday. I have completed all the formalities. Therefore, I don’t think that there will be any hassle in accepting my resignation.”

In September, Jakhar had posted a photo where he is in his farm in Killianwali village with a message, “I am a farmer. I support the farmers from my heart” stated the report. Now he has even offered to pay the government a “sum equivalent to an amount of pay and allowances as required by the government in the treasury to exempt me from the stipulated time of advance notice.” He wished to be “treated as prematurely retired from the service w.e.f 12th December, 2020.”

This is his way of expressing solidarity with the farmers, and says he counts himself as one too. “I am a farmer first and later a police officer. Whatever position I have got today, it is because my father worked as a farmer in the fields and he made me study. Hence, I owe everything I have to farming” Jakhar was quoted by IE. Before joining Punjab Police he had served in the Indian Army as well, “in the Army, most part of my service was in J&K. I had gone for training to Madras in 1987 before my first posting in 1989” he said.

According to the news report Jakhar owns 22 acres out of the joint family’s 40 acres farmland at Killianwali village in Abohar constituency of Punjab, and stated that the family tilled the land themselves. “We do farming ourselves. So, I am aware of the challenges a farmer faces. My mother Gobind Pal Kaur, who is 81 years of age, still does farming and supervises the entire farming operations at the village. I could not look into her eyes, when she asked me what my opinion was of our farmer brothers and sisters who have been braving cold in Delhi since November 26. They have been on roads in Punjab since mid-September,” the IE quoted him, adding that he may head to Delhi soon.


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