JAMMU: The attempt of ‘cowing down’ IGP Traffic Basant Rath has begun boomeranging, with social media getting flooded with sweet-n-sour messages-sweet for Rath in blacks and sour for DGP Dr S P Vaid in Khakis.
Nevertheless, the observations of the common man on the social-media are penetrating and mind-blowing. Not vouching for the veracity of the charges, some true some fictitious, the police hierarchy and the political class is virtually on receiving end. Social media users believe that harsh ‘diktat’ to Rath is manifestation of ‘source of recurring income’ drying down. It is also seen as outcome of the political pressure, as the blacks-donned IGP is ferociously getting popular for sending over 20 per cent public transport-matadors-off the road for not having valid documents. These matadors are believed to be owned by politicians. Interestingly, the Jammu roads look deserted with volume of vehicles coming down drastically. The explanations can be many, like lack of route permits and some of the small vehicles being stolen, to quote a few.
Anyways, the deliberately leaked ‘letter of warning’ to IGP Rath has become a subject matter of public debate. In the process Basant Rath is becoming another Anna Hazare; courtesy the DGP.
Hazare’s emergence should have been a case study for those at the helm. The crusade against unabated corruption during the UPA government led to resurgence of a public movement of strong five lakh Delhi population, which saw an ex-army lorry driver becoming heart-throb of 125 crore nation. It did not end there. The ‘Aam Aadmi’ took a political shape and rocked the established political bigwigs in the national capital. The beneficiary ‘Mufflerman” Arvind Kejriwal got 67 seats in Delhi Legislative Assembly, leaving just three seats to rowing Narendra Modi juggernaut and humbling Congress by making Delhi Assembly Congress-Mukt.
Is Delhi repeating itself in Jammu, though not necessarily on political front? Basant Rath has succeeded in catching imagination of people, who have started believing that honest intent can certainly make a huge difference. Jammu tastes the flavour of disciplined roads and this difference is going to make the task of those wishing to undo all this rather difficult. Shifting Basant at this point of time could be counter-productive. The higher-ups have chosen to make the issue public, as the ‘warning letter’ could have been marked as classified. The IGP could have been summoned to Police Headquarters and told to don the uniform, which in any case would have been a welcome advice. He could also have been told to ensure that common citizens are not put to inconvenience, if any, in the pursuit of traffic enforcement rules.
Will the DGP tell to the people as to how many warnings have been issued to IGPs Railway, CID, Security, Vigilance or previous IGPs Traffic, who seldom wear uniforms and move in civvies during their duty hours? Why hammering Basant Rath only?
It appears that the Police Headquarters has no monitoring mechanism. Had there been any means to gauge public mood, the DGP would have certainly avoided shooting ill-advised missive to the top traffic cop. The wrong move has misfired, as the people are openly blaming DGP for pushing the State to a virtual mess. A leading legal luminary has observed that the DGP should have been worried about land mafia run by a section of police but, “You are worried over violation of conduct rules by belligerent IG Traffic as hafta system and entry of trolleys is totally banned in the city”. Another social media activist asks the DGP about action taken against ‘two corrupt IPS officers’, who provided seven PSOs to an aide of the former Deputy Chief Minister. What is DGP’s take on the progress in open FIR against desecration of National Flag in Rajouri or action taken against a middle rung officer, who provoked by not standing up in Abhinav Theatre during National Anthem last week. One of the social media posts asks the DGP to focus on growing terror and anti-national activities, which are spreading tentacles beyond Banihal Tunnel. He has referred to stone-pelting at Sunjwan Military Station, asking that a person who could not save even Jammu from Pak lackeys has no moral right to create obstacles in the way of an honest officer. Another user has put to vote whether Basant Rath should be retained as IGP Traffic or transferred. Astonishingly 85 per cent have voted for his retention.
The posting of Basant Rath is turning Achilles Heel for the political and police establishments. With his way of working, the IGP Traffic has made himself indispensible for the people. He has made the task for his successor, if any at any point of time, difficult as he will be compared with Basant Rath. Who knows the misadventure by the police hierarchy in touching Rath may manifest in public outrage? Adherently or inadvertently, the DGP has made his IGP a hero, who has all the potential of repeating Anna fervour in Jammu.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper