A day after auxiliary constables burnt effigies of activists, politicians and journalists who questioned the police narrative in the 2011 Tadmetla incident, the Chhattisgarh government faced flak from various quarters, including opposition parties, social groups and even within the police department.
The effigy burning came days after the CBI held the police responsible for the burning of “160 homes in Tadmetla village” in March 2011.
At a press conference on Tuesday, senior leaders of the Congress said, “The entire force in Bastar is not involved in incorrect activities and are fighting Naxalites honestly, but (IGP) S R P Kalluri is forcing some security personnel to continuously do unethical and illegal acts. He is acting as a dictator, and is being pushed by CM Raman Singh and RSS leaders to fulfil political demands.”
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T S Singhdeo, leader of opposition in the Vidhan Sabha, said, “When any institution or agency takes to extra-judicial methods, this is what happens. How can the police, who are expected to protect people, become the danger themselves? If you believe that individuals are helping Naxalites, then you have every instrument under your command to take action and arrest them. But if you are not doing that, then nobody can take the law into their own hands,” he said.
The Aam Aadmi Party condemned the burning of effigies by auxiliary constables. “The way the police are carrying out political activities, will it be involved in the election in 2018? This is the beginning of a dangerous practice, which can have disastrous effects,” AAP leader Nagesh Banchhor said.
Former Chhattisgarh DGP Vishvaranjan said while there was no “physical danger” because “orchestrations like this cannot be taken too far”, the effigy burning was clearly beyond the remit of the police. “A force has to stay within the rules and regulations. There are no provisions, either for senior officers or junior officers, to participate in any kind of rally,” he said.
A senior police officer said, “No disciplined force can take law into their hands. We are proving the activists right this way,” he said.