April 30, 2018 4:27:44 am
The Madhya Pradesh government was left red-faced on Sunday after reports of newly-recruited police constables with their castes – ‘SC’, ‘ST’ and ‘OBC’ – marked on their chests during a medical examination at a government hospital emerged.
The controversy was triggered after the candidates from the reserved categories were stamped with their caste identification on their bare chests during the three-day medical examination process at the Dhar district hospital. However, candidates from the general category were not labelled.
While sources claimed the caste stamps were used to avoid confusion among candidates – as height and chest measurement norms are different for constables belonging to general and reserved categories – Dalit leaders in the state have called it a blatant violation and sought arrests of the guilty under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Dhar’s Superintendent of Police Veerendra Singh told The Indian Express that an inquiry has been ordered into the matter as the labelling was not authorised by any competent authority.
Claiming there was “no bad intention” behind the act, Singh said several police officials present during the examination also belonged to reserved categories. He said, there was a large number of candidates as in addition to the newly-recruited constables of the district police, special armed force (SAF) personnel also underwent medical examination at the hospital simultaneously.
So far no complaints were lodged by the new recruits, Singh added. The hospital authorities have also denied their involvement in putting the caste labels.
Calling the incident a “mental torture”, Dalit leader Mohan Patil said, “Even if reserved category police officials were present (as claimed by the SP) they must have done the marking as instructed by someone senior.” He has demanded that all responsible for the caste profiling of the constables be booked under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
BJP MP from Dhar, Savitri Thakur also condemned the incident as “shameful.” She said one could be pardoned if the marking happened as a result of an inadvertent error. “But if it’s found to be deliberate, strict action should be taken against the perpetrators,” Thakur said.