The public snub to a woman IPS officer by a BJP MLA in Gorakhpur today seemed to have snowballed into a major controversy with the ruling party lawmaker deciding to stage protest and the IPS officers’ body condemning the incident as “interference in law enforcement”. The matter also led to a face-off between the government and bureaucrats with Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya backing MLA Radha Mohan Das Aggarwal and an IG-rank police officer demanding that the IPS Association act in the matter.
Condemning the incident against the ASP, Gorakhpur, the IPS Association said, “If interference in law enforcement goes unpunished, the ability of police to protect people gets eroded.”
A delegation of the UP IPS Association led by its president Praveen Singh met Chief Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar tonight and demanded strong action against those involved in the incident and ensure such incidents did not recur.
Bhatnagar assured the delegation that their concerns would be conveyed to higher authorities.
A day after the MLA from Gorakhpur Urban seat was accused of misbehaving with IPS officer Charu Nigam, he said today that he would sit under the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Gorakhpur’s Town Hall area on May 10 to gather the grievances of the public vis-a-vis illegal liquor outlets.
“I am not going to stage any protest or dharna, but simply sit under the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Town Hall area on May 10 to hear the grievances of the public, who are fed up with the operation of illegal liquor outlets,” he told PTI.
Applications of the people who do not want any liquor outlet operating within 50 metres of residential areas will be be handed over to the district administration, he said.
“In the past few years, Gorakhpur has become a hub of illegal liquor outlets. The situation is very disturbing. In the last 10 days, I personally monitored the closure of illegal liquor shops. However, if one illegal shop is closed down in one part of city, many others crop up in other parts,” he rued.
Taking serious cognisance of the incident, the UP IPS Association today said it would raise the issue at the appropriate forum.
IG (Rules and Manuals) Amitabh Thakur, who is a member of the association, said, “Office-bearers of the association will meet the chief secretary and raise the issue.”
UP IPS Association secretary Prakash D, when contacted, said the association has sought a detailed report of the incident from the field officers in Gorakhpur. “We will raise the issue at the appropriate forum,” he said.
However, the deputy chief minister said, “People’s representatives have to reach spot at times. Officers should also maintain balance. They try to find out a way after listening to problems and avoid arguments. I wish that such an incident did not take place.”
He was asked to comment on yesterday’s incident in Gorakhpur, the hometurf of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Nigam apparently broke down during an argument with the BJP MLA yesterday over evicting protesters, with the incident being captured on the camera.
The incident occurred in Kareemnagar area of Gorakhpur where some people, protesting against a liquor shop, were removed by the police. Aggarwal reached the spot amid complaints by protesters that Nigam, who is also the Circle Officer, had forcibly removed them.
They alleged that the police had hit a woman and dragged an 80-year-old man.
As the matter acquired a political hue, Maurya said, “Radhamohanji is a very senior legislator and I am not fully aware of the incident.”
The Congress demanded strict action against the legislator for misbehaving with the woman IPS officer.
“An FIR should be registered against the BJP MLA for creating hindrance in government employees’ work. Such incidents bring down the morale of the officers,” Congress leader Satyadev Tripathi said.
The Samajwadi Party also attacked the BJP government for the “highhandedness” of its legislator.
“After the BJP government came to power, such incidents have increased. Strict action should be taken against the MLA,” a party spokesman said here.
SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said in Kanpur that the state government had turned a blind eye to law and order matters. “There is no control over crime,” the former chief minister said.
Nigam took to Facebook this morning to thank everyone who supported her.
“My training has not taught me to be weak. I just did not expect that SP city Ganesh Saha sir would outrightly reject the irrational argument and talk about my injury (sic),” she posted on the social networking site.
“I was the seniormost officer in the police there but when sir came and stood by the force, I got emotional. The media has taken this stand because every one of them saw both incidents and this shows the positivity of the media in Gorakhpur. I am thankful to them to have shown the truth with least manipulation,” she said.
The 2014-batch IPS officer said the people should not think that “I am weak because I had tears in my eyes. It was due to the tenderness associated with women”.
Local news channels flashed pictures of the MLA questioning the IPS officer about her action and telling her that there had been orders by the state government that liquor shops will not function in densely populated residential areas.
Amid the exchange of words, Nigam took out a handkerchief and wiped her tears. The visuals were captured and telecast by news channels repeatedly.
The police officer later accused the MLA of misbehaving and insulting her.
“The MLA misbehaved with me and refused to acknowledge in full public view that he is speaking to a woman police officer,” Nigam said.
On the other hand, Aggarwal accused the IPS officer of exercising highhandedness with the protesters, who were demanding that a liquor outlet in their locality be shut.
“We are against the operation of liquor shops. People were peacefully protesting against the liquor shops, but the woman police officer forcibly removed the protesters and while doing so, she hit a woman and dragged an 80-year-old man. This simply cannot be tolerated,” he said.
Aggarwal rubbished allegations that he misbehaved with her. He alleged that there was a tacit understanding between the police and the liquor mafia as a liquor shop closed 15 days ago had suddenly started doing business again.
When asked to comment on the footage telecast by local news channels, Aggarwal said, “Is my body language showing that I am misbehaving with her? I was not speaking to the CO (Charu Nigam), but to the SP (City). See my body language properly.”
“If you see the video recording of the incident, you will find the woman officer removing the protesters forcibly…you will see the reality,” the MLA added.