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Tamil Nadu police chief T K Rajendran has issued a circular asking commissionerates and districts heads to keep a tab on potential movements or revolts within the force. The advisory came days after posters appeared at an armed reserve camp in Chennai, raising grievances of personnel along with a call to form a union.
The circular warned “disgruntled elements” may step up their slanderous activities. “Please closely watch those who had come to adverse notice in this regard in your units and take appropriate measures to avert any unpleasant development,’’ it said. “Also monitor posting on social media closely, prevent circulation of provoking message and initiate action according to the law.’’
The circular has asked officials to watch social media and WhatsApp discussions on the need for an association for police officers. It calls for tightened counter-intelligence, and measures to maintain the force’s morale.
Sources said there is no lead yet on identity of the people who pasted the posters. An official said some personnel who had appealed family members of the police personnel to meet the chief minister on July 6 when a discussion is scheduled on the welfare measures and grants for the force in the Assembly, might have pasted the posters. “We believe that a couple of retired and suspended police personnel, who approached the Madras High Court last year seeking permission to form a union of police personnel have had a role in this too,” he said.
The demands listed out in the posters include eight-hour duty, mandatory weekly holidays, urgent steps to fill up vacancies, abolition of orderly system and permission to form a constabulary association.
Tamil Nadu does not have unions for police personnel, unlike in Kerala. IPS officers have an association. In July 2016, a constable had filed a petition arguing the police chief had no powers to prevent the constabulary from forming an association. The HC had dismissed the plea saying it was not an absolute right, even though it is fundamental in nature.