Police, Specifically IPS Officers Should Question Gajbhiye’s Suspension

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
In responding to a comment in social media, over my article “In Kendrapada contest, Gajbhiye derserves praise, not punishment”, I have given the following opinion:

“The police did what it should have done in that situation. Saving people from blatant hooliganism was the immediate responsibility of the police. And, it discharged this responsibility with no negligence. It cannot be countenanced that the SP of a district in the situation, the most irresponsible and maliciously motivated TV journalism had whipped up, should have waited till maddened mob was to wreak mayhem. The State Government has certainly done a wrong by humiliating and harassing Gajbhiye on his spot decision at Kendrapada. Every leader of a group in charge of law and order should have the freedom to take a spot decision in public interest, notwithstanding what the law says, if that action can save many lives. Govt. may initiate any action against him on property acquisition if thereby the Code of Conduct has been violated or corruption resorted to. But in Kendrapada matter, he should be completely exonerated and on the other hand, commended”.

Many sensible readers of my write-ups have supported my view. I am preferring reproduction of one response here, because it is so relevant that the State administration ought to take it seriously. It comes from a former IPS officer Sri Arun Kumar Upadhyay as a comment on my article captioned ‘Legality of suspension of Satish Gajbhiye is questionable, but State succumbing to lawyers’ pressure is deplorable’. Here is what Mr. Upadhyay has said:

Till today, voluminous discussion in media and social sites have not indicated immediate cause of Sarathi riots. His property worth above Rs 10 crores was obvious from size of temple itself and that was known since long. What was the occasion on 6th August for 30 to 35 thousand people to get enraged against Sarathi Baba? Crowd does not know any logic. Mass hysteria would have definitely murdered Sarathi Baba without police intervention and that would have created bigger mass hysteria in form of communal riots much bigger than riots after Swami Lakshmanananda in Kandhmal 9 years ago. Since 6 August many lakhs are agitating against Sarathi Baba and Sri Gajbhiye, but no formal complaint against any person has been lodged. Alleged victim of police beating is Sri Duryodhan Sahu, district head of a national party and himself an advocate. Even common illiterate persons file case, but he has not done so. But many lakh persons agitated all over the State and FIR’s were filed by persons who are neither victims nor witnesses. Except Kendrapada, none of the police stations is having jurisdiction. Only Kendrapada has jurisdiction where no complaint is filed. Even Crime branch had to file case on own information. Do we know only to disrupt society by mass agitation but not ready to give any complaint?

I wonder, why the Police Officers, specifically the IPS officers, despite this position, are silent on Gajbhiye’s suspension.

Perhaps the wrong action taken against him sans application of mind  has made them too demoralized to react.

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  1. Because may be or that it is a fact now to stay afloat in Govt. Jobs one has to become corrupt to the CORE, hence, as correctly assessed they are all a class of corrupt officials.

    It really doesn’t matter if IPS S. G. have been under suspension or needs to be arrested. A corrupt official anyway, that he is !!! Sorry orissamatters pl.

    Sorry also that I have to take up such a thought on this auspicious DAY of our Nations’ Independence DAY.

    • Dear Dr. Mishra, the officer’s corruption or probity is not the point here. The point here is his suspension for having correctly discharged his duty in dispersing a maddened mob all set to cause a mayhem. The Government of the land should understand the responsibility of governance and should possess and use the wisdom how not to demoralize the men in uniform who risk their lives to save lives of innocent masses.

  2. Under rules, DM has been given all powers and Home Ministry circulars specify that it will be a personal responsibilty of DM and SP to control riots. But the SP who was standing on his toes for 2 days immediately after returning from leave was suspended and DM was never seen on spot nor anybody has talked about him. It is not known whether he was absent without any leave. Orissa Police Manual, 1940, Rule 14 is quoted below-
    14. Position of District Magistrate-The District Magistrate, as head of the criminal administration of the district and responsible for its efficiency, controls and directs the police, and, where necessity demands, has power, in consultation with the Superintendent, to make such dispositions of the force as are required for the maintenance of law and order and the control of crime.

    Despite massive statewide campaign, no victim of Kendrapada has so far complained against Police or Sarathi Baba. If there is no complain, why massive agitation?

    Sarathi Baba may still be a criminal, but there was no immediate provocative act by him even 10 days after incident. His temple may not be pious, but it is public place where people throng on festivals. At least it is a meeting place better than Cuttack or Bubaneswar Club which are centres of drinking etc and meeting of officers for deals with builders etc. A public place is not criminal, its manager can be. When 30-40 thousand persons do violence without any reason, they would definitely have murdered Sarathi baba and no body among the crowd could have been specified. That could have triggered massive communal riots as after murder of Swami Lakshmanananda 9 years ago.

    There is always a fight for prize posts like Police Commissioner, but he has no jurisdiction over Kendrapada. Plan to Gherao this office is inner fight of police officers. Why a national party should be part of police groupism?

  3. If Gajbhiiye had rightly acted,then we should salute British raj,where people treated as animals.Even now a days you can’t treat animals brutally.We have seen how police was beating and tied hand behind of innocent people.Kneel down them etc.How shamelessly we support it? Is it an unruly African state where Police and military can do any brutality is always granted?

    • Dear Deba babu,
      Thanks for the response. Police action in question was certainly very severe and cannot be countenanced in normal situation. But using the TV channels BJP had brought the situation to such a boiling point that had the police nbot acted so swiftly and severely, that evening was going to generate a night of mayhem. In that specific situation, I believe, police took the correct decision. Sometimes, impromptu decision taken on the spot may be abnormally harsh, but an abnormal heat generated and instigated and inflamed by a motivated media may warrant such instant police action. I love the people no less than the best of humanitarian we can look at; but if intervention of police without use of any ammunition could preempt a situation of mayhem, howsoever harsh that may be, I would welcome that intervention. Had Gajbhiye instead of restricting the police action only to Lathis and uniformed muscle, used bullets, I would have been the first to condemn that. We should never forget that BJP had fomented the dangerous situation as an experimentation of TV channels’ capability to make people dance according to its tune. I think, I should analyze it in a separate article. Thanks.

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