Bengal Governor Flags Political Violence In Bengal, Issues Stern Warning To State Police Chief

by Swarajya Staff - Sep 21, 2020 03:18 PM +05:30 IST
Bengal Governor Flags Political Violence In Bengal, Issues Stern Warning To State Police ChiefBengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar. (Picture via Twitter)
  • Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar warned the police chief that the “day of reckoning” is not far away.

Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has taken the unprecedented step of castigating the state police publicly for “unleashing a reign of terror on political opponents” (of the Trinamool) and issued a dire warning to the police chief that the “day of reckoning” is not far away.

The Governor, who has crossed swords with the state government often over myriad issues, tweeted this (Monday) morning his strong response to a letter he received from the state Director General of Police (DGP) on 10 September.

He had written a ‘confidential letter’ to the DGP on 5 September flagging ‘deteriorating law and order situation in the state’, rising political violence and human rights violations and targeting of political opponents.

Dhankhar had, in that letter, accused the police of being partisan and acting at the behest of the ruling party in the state. He had asked the DGP to make amends and uphold the rule of law.

The DGP’s two-line reply (dated 10 September) to the Governor’s letter was cryptic and even perfunctory: “West Bengal Police firmly adheres to the path laid down by the law. There is no discrimination for or against anyone in an extra legal sense”.

Dhankhar, while stating that he was “surprised and anguished” by the DGP’s response, said there would be “no takers” for the state police chief’s assertion. “Nothing can be farther from the grim reality and the truth,” said the Governor.

“The state is a safe haven to terror, crime, flourishing illegal bomb making, corruption resulting in atrocious violation of human rights and oppressive quelling of all opposition,” the Governor wrote to the DGP.

Noting that the (state government) is “functioning on ‘police crutches’ with the police, ever in political readiness, abandoning its lawful public duty”, Dhankhar decried that “police driven political vendetta and killings are on an incremental trajectory”.

The Governor also said that the (Bengal) police is turning into a “severe threat to human rights” and “accountability to rule of law and Constitution has given way to servitude in ‘virtual crawl mode’ before even extra-Constitutional authorities”.

Stating that the DGP was well aware of “all these sinister developments”, Dhankhar warned that “a day of reckoning, and not far enough, awaits all such transgressions” and that he (Dhankhar) as the Constitutional head (of the state) “cannot and will not overlook” such transgressions.

Accusing the state police of according immunity to a section of society, Dhankhar said there have been “umpteen instances” of the police suppressing crimes, overlooking acts and omissions of offenders, fudging first information reports (FIRs) and tampering post mortem reports, not registering FIRs even in heinous crimes committed by leaders, supporters and workers of the ruling party and being silent spectators to loot and corruption.

“There are numerous instances of oppressive and indiscriminate politically-inspired criminal implication of opposition leaders,” the Governor said in his letter.

Noting that the police are supporting ruling party harmads (hired goons) unleashing murderous attacks on opposition MPs, MLAs and workers, Dhankhar pointed out that Bengal “has become home to illegal bomb making”.

The “deliberate acts of omission and commission” by the Bengal police has resulted in ‘police state governance’ thus “tarnishing and tearing asunder our democratic fabric”, said the Governor.

He regretted that his ‘well-meaning alerts’ to senior police officers to ‘maintain political neutrality’ had ‘gone unheeded’ due to the “ill-calculated misconception” that there would be no consequences.

He warned that all police officers subscribing to this ‘misconception’ were in for a ‘rude shock’ and would have to face the ‘wrath of law’ soon. “All are bound to be held legally accountable in an exemplary manner,” he also warned.

Dhankhar, in his letter, asked the DGP to meet him "latest by September 26” and brief him (the Governor) on the "alarming decline in law and order in the state" as well as "the steps he (the state police chief) has in mind" to arrest this decline and restore "police neutrality".

Dhankhar’s missive to the state DGP and his warnings in it has stirred a storm in the state police headquarters. Serving and retired police officers say that such a letter from the Governor is unprecedented in the history of the state.

It now remains to be seen if the DGP honours the Governor’s summons.

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