Bhubaneswar, Dec 25:
The whimsical manner in which the Director Intelligence Abhay Kumar was unceremoniously shunted to an insignificant position on Tuesday evening following the flash protest action by the Navnirman Krushak Sangathan (NKS) has not gone down well in the police circles in the state.
“This is rather unfortunate,” former DGP GK Nanda told a news channel on Wednesday.
“He was doing great work in creating a network for collection of intelligence for anti-Maoist operations and as a result the police and security forces were enjoying an upper hand in the areas dominated by the ultras,” he said while taking part in a discussion on Maoist violence in Malkangiri.
Another senior police officer said he was ‘deeply shocked’ to know that a senior IPS officer of Abhay Kumar’s stature and calibre would be treated so shabbily.
“The Director, Intelligence was on leave and in any case he should not have been punished for lapses on the part of the local police. The protesters were neither violent nor did they reach anywhere near the chief minister’s car or harm anybody,” the officer said, adding, ” We have little option than accept what the bosses choose to do.”
An angry former police inspector told OST, “ We all know, Intelligence wing’s job today has been limited to spying on politicians and catering to the chief minister’s personal political agenda. But what about the hundreds of cops and officials whose only job is to protect the chief minister?”
“If the Director of Intelligence is punished for a lapse on the part of the field staff, the same logic should also be applied to the chief minister and he should be held responsible for the acts of commission and omission by his sub-ordinates in the government and the party. But doesn’t he get away by putting the blame on somebody or the other every time something goes terribly wrong ?” he asked.
The reaction of the chief minister to the NKS protest action is a little too exaggerated, conceded a senior bureaucrat who said politicians should be able to take public protests in their stride, especially when it is the election season.
“One should learn from Arvind Kejriwal who has refused security cover,” he said.
Sources said, the hasty and unjust decision was reportedly prompted by some people who are more loyal than the king and succeeded in conjuring up a mountain out of a molehill, said another senior government official, adding, some sidelined senior cops, who are on an overdrive to denigrate the present police establishment by using a section of the media, also played their part in ‘poisoning the ears’ of people who rule the roost.
A traffic official told OST that the road from the Secretariat to Naveen Niwas can’t be completely sanitized because it is a busy route.
“Can we ask all vehicles to be off-road and remove people on either side of the road when the chief minister’s carcade is passing?” he asked, adding, “It’s the state capital and people here react angrily when they are detained for several minutes to allow the CM’s carcade to pass.”
The over-reaction to the NKS protest was not limited to the CMO alone. The Commissionerate Police have gone ten steps ahead by slapping Section 307 (IPC) for ‘attempt to murder’ against the 26 NKS activists. The other sections of the IPC that they have been charged with are 147, 148, 149, 341, 353, 506 and Sec 7 of the Criminal Amendment Act.
Terming it both ridiculous and shocking, lawyer and rights activist Biswapriya Kanungo said while the protest was done in a peaceful manner without causing hurt to any one, the commissionerate police have charged the NKS activists on 8 counts including attempt to murder, rioting, applying force with deadly weapons, threatening to kill etc.
The NKS incident is likely to make things more difficult for the commuters using the road between the state secretariat and Naveen Niwas, which in any case wears the look of a fortress.
But the question that begs an answer is : why is the ‘most popular chief minister ever’ getting so hyper about creating an invincible security ring around himself when he has failed miserably in providing basic security to the average person in the state capital and elsewhere?