The Gujarat assembly elections will be taking place in an environment in which as many as 25 police officers of various ranks languish in jails even as others run the risk of finding themselves there. Seven of them top IPS officers, the cops are in jail not for riots cases, but for those concerned with fake encounters. It has left the police force disenchanted with Modi. They say they flouted the rules to favour their political masters, but have got no “protection” in return. As for those who have dared to speak up against Modi, the pressure is of an altogether different kind, landing them somewhere between the devil and the deep sea.
|Hounded (clockwise) Rahul & Kuldeep Sharma, Satish Verma, Rajnish Rai
Former Gujarat DGP R.B. Sreekumar says that the police in Gujarat have been used as a ‘police mafia’. “I have witnessed it myself. The system has been like that since 2002 and the fallout is very visible in the discontent. The way the police functions in Gujarat is unacceptable because elected members and the ruling party are supposed to work as per the Constitution. If they have reservations about it, then they should declare the state as a Hindu rashtra.” Sreekumar says that honest officers desirous of working as per the law of the land have been systematically hounded.
These include cops like Rahul Sharma, Satish Verma, Rajnish Rai, Sanjeev Bhatt and Kuldeep Sharma, who dared to question the government’s orders during and after the riots. While Rahul Sharma has been given a nondescript posting in Baroda, Kuldeep Sharma, after winning the court battle, was posted in Delhi as the director of the Bureau of Police Research and Development. Sanjeev Bhatt is still under suspension and fighting his case.
Officers, thus, are wary of serving in Gujarat. Delhi-based joint commissioner Karnail Singh requested that he not be transferred to Gujarat. He was posted in Mizoram as Special Commissioner of Police in 2011 and is currently serving as a special director at the Enforcement Directorate in Chandigarh. These officers are increasingly veering towards the view that the politicians will get away, and they will remain caught in the legal dragnet for years on end.