We will put an end to moral policing, declared newly elected Karnataka chief minister, Siddaramaiah stated clearly on Tuesday, May 23 and also vowed to put an end to moral policing in the state, and asked police officials to ensure that there is no discrimination between religions, while maintaining law and order. In his maiden meeting with top police officials after the Congress government came to power, he warned concerned officials that they would be held responsible if law and order situation deteriorates and directed them to take strict action against those disturbing harmony through social media posts. “We have asked the police to be people friendly, they should be courteous towards people who come to file complaints. PTI, Deccan Herald and National Herald carried reports of the meeting.
At the same meeting, also attended by deputy chief minister, D.K. Shivakumar rapped Karnataka police officials and asked them whether they are trying to ‘saffronise’ the state police department.
“Are you all set to saffronise the police department? We will not allow it under our government,” Shivakumar stated while addressing the meeting of high-level police officers of Karnataka at the Conference Hall in Vidhana Soudha of Bengaluru.
He did not stop there. “We know how police officers came to the police station wearing saffron shawls in Mangaluru, Bijapur (Vijayapura), Bagalkot and insulted the department,” he said. “You should have come to this meeting wearing a saffron shawl,” Shivakumar warned police officers.
“If it was to be patriotic, then you should have come to work wearing the national flag. We will not allow saffronisation of the police department,” Shivakumar stressed. “Imagine the level the police department would stoop to if an ADGP-ranked officer is indulged in fabricating OMR sheets in the PSI recruitment scandal,” Shivakumar questioned.
The chief minister detailed his government’s concern about deteriorating law and order. Not only the police inspector, DCPs will also be held responsible for crimes and illegal acts like — rowdyism, clubs, and drug menace — in any of their police station limits, and action will be taken against them,” Siddaramaiah said. Addressing reporters here, he said, “during the maintenance of law and order, there should not be any discrimination between religions, and everyone should be seen equally, and should be protected equally.” “No moral policing here on, we will put an end to this…” he added.
Shivakumar emphasized, “People have elected a new government with the expectation of change. Officials should work to respond to their problems,” Siddaramaiah said. He also directed officials to take strict legal action against those disturbing harmony in the society, through inflammatory and provocative posts on social media. The CM will hold a separate meeting to discuss the issue of traffic congestion in Bengaluru, his office said in a release quoting him.
Drug addiction should be prevented, Siddaramaiah said, as he asked “Hoysala” patrol teams to always be vigilant to check crimes. Directing senior officers to visit and inspect police stations, he said the public who come to the police station with problems, should be treated courteously, without looking at them like criminals. Siddaramaiah also told police officials that they should take merciless action to control illegal activities within the police station limits. “Our government does not tolerate goondaism, illegal club activities, drug mafia,” he said. Ministers K J George, K H Muniyappa, B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan, M B Patil, Satish Jarkiholi and senior officials were also present at the meeting. Taking officials to task over some incidents in the previous BJP government tenure, Shivakumar asked, “Are you planning to saffronise the police department?” He said that it will not be allowed in the present government.
Referring to incidents of policemen sporting saffron shawls or dress, during some occasions in Mangaluru, Vijayapura and Bagalkote, during previous BJP regime, Shivakumar did not hold back, “We will not allow saffronisation of the police department, under our government.” Highlighting the involvement of an Additional Director General of Police rank official in the Police Sub-Inspector recruitment scam, the Deputy CM said, “Look at the bad state of the department.” Shivakumar also charged the police with “harassing” Congress leader and now Minister Priyank Kharge, who brought out the scam, by holding a press conference. Accusing the police of filing false cases against Congress leaders and workers, including Siddaramaiah and him, during BJP rule, he said, “We do not hold grudges. We don’t believe in that. You change, leave the old. Start a new job.”
Shivakumar was firm. “You harass those who conducted the press conference and brought this scandal out. You have harassed Priyank Kharge. The Karnataka police department had made a name in the entire country. You have destroyed the honour and dignity of the department.
“Wherever you see, everywhere it is all about money. Everything has to be cleaned under our government. The people are looking forward to a big change by this government. This should begin from the police department,” Shivakumar said.
The message of political change and sharp change in political functioning should reach people. Your earlier behaviour won’t be tolerated. I know how you (the police department) behaved with me and CM Siddaramaiah during the Pay CM campaign. You lodged cases against us. Thousands of false cases were lodged against our party workers. They were harassed. You did not spare me and Siddaramaiah, you could have done worse to normal people,” Shivakumar said.
He pointed to how partisan behavior had affected police function. “However, you (police) did not lodge any case against the opposite party (then ruling BJP). You danced to their tunes and colluded with them. Why have you not booked a case on those who issued a statement that Siddaramaiah should be dealt with in the same way as erstwhile Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan? He provoked murder, but you didn’t book him (former IT and Higher Education Minister C.N. Ashwath Narayan),” Shivakumar stated.
“Is that not a crime? We have evidence of whatever you have done. All this will not be tolerated henceforth. You should change, your conduct should change. If not, we will have to change you. We will not carry forward hatred. We don’t believe in it. Change yourself, start work afresh and give peace to the people,” Shivakumar maintained.