Since being posted as the Malviya Nagar SHO in January last year, Inspector Vijay Pal is reported to have been responsible for action against many African nationals who did not possess proper documents.
Two years ago, he was promoted and given charge of the all-women police station in South Campus, after impressing his seniors while he was posted with the Delhi Police Crime Against Woman Cell.
Pal has now been asked to go on leave pending a judicial probe for refusing to raid an alleged drugs and prostitution den on the orders of Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti. Sources said Pal went on leave on Monday, citing medical reasons.
Rallying behind Pal, women’s organisations like the All India Democratic Women’s Association, National Federation of Indian Women, All India Progressive Women’s Association, Centre for Women’s Development Studies as well as others like Act Now For Harmony and Democracy, People’s Union for Civil Liberties have written an open letter to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urging him to “take appropriate action” against Bharti.
“The Malviya Nagar SHO became a rare exception who acted to protect African women whose safety was criminally compromised… We also know how hard it is to ensure that police act in accordance with law and Constitutional values rather than public or political sentiment, especially in matters involving women and vulnerable social groups… It is, therefore, a great disservice to women’s rights to penalise police officers who refuse to act in accordance with inflamed prejudices of the public or political leaders. And it is even more dangerous to allow private individuals or even ministers to take the law into their own hands and subject already vulnerable sections like women to further harassment. This was also a clear case of racial profiling against foreign citizens,” says the letter.
The other officer who has been asked to go on leave is Sub-Inspector Ramji Lal, PCR in-charge of Paharganj sub-division, where a Danish woman was allegedly gangraped last week. He was reportedly told to go on leave on Monday afternoon itself.
Lal was transferred to the PCR department just three months back. He is set to retire in three years. His colleagues claimed the alleged gangrape site — the Railway Officers’ Club premises — is not under the jurisdiction of the Delhi Police.