The Jammu and Kashmir DGP has pulled up the IG (Traffic) over “strange activities” while managing traffic and advised him to refrain from such acts. “A number of videos, posts and pictures are being circulated on social media in which you are seen moving in civvies on the roads, doing strange activities unwarranted of a police officer. Other videos uploaded by some commuters allege manhandling, using of abusive language and damage to their property like cell phone, helmets, spectacles and vehicles,” DGP S P Vaid wrote in a letter to IG (Traffic) Basant Rath.
“These acts are not only illegal, they are unbecoming of a police officer… These acts of yours are bringing disrepute and bad name to the police organisation. You are hereby advised and warned to refrain from such acts in future… Any violation to these directions shall be viewed seriously and action under law shall be initiated against you.”
Sources said the DGP’s letter followed complaints from senior police officers that Rath’s style of functioning was tarnishing the image of state police. They referred to his Facebook posts that were allegedly threatening and indecent.
“My dear senior who think I’m all gas on Facebook and Twitter and no guts on the street, please ask your PSOs to drive their bikes without wearing helmets. I’ll ruin their day. And yours. I don’t think I love you,” reads one of his Facebook posts.
Another says, “Friends, some cops are immune to the threat of transfer. I’m one of them. My beautiful middle finger to the power drunk middlemen, Yeah.’’
Rath seized an Audi car of the son of a senior IPS officer and lodged a complaint against him. He then posted on Facebook: “Friends, I got an Audi car (CH01 BK 7900) seized today. The driver was a young friend with whom I used to play lawn tennis when I was young a century ago. His father is a colleague and an IPS officer in J and K. I’m sad. And I’m happy.” He also uploaded the complaint letter.
Congress MLA Usman Majid sought action against Rath over a post asking scooterists to wear a helmet as it is “like a condom’’. Rath’s actions in personally managing vehicular traffic have earned him many admirers in the police, bureaucracy and civil society. Sitting on the pavement supervising cops, regulating traffic, intercepting those violating rules, he has become the talk of the town since he took over as IG Traffic a fortnight ago.
IGP, Armed, Danesh Rana posted on Facebook: “Cyclones often hit Orissa. J&K has been hit by a cyclone called Basant Rath. Cyclones uproot trees. Basant Rath is planting the seeds of traffic management and discipline and fear of law. I have handled traffic as SSP and DIG, but could not bring a revolution. (Doff my hat to Basant Rath. Kudos!) Love you tiger.’’
Dr Shah Faisal, Managing Director of J&K State Power Development Corporation, posted: “It’s Monday morning but Amphala Chowk (Jammu) is traffic free. Basant Rath works!’’ While a youth has dedicated a song to Rath, another posted that he has shown that everything changes provided one has the will for it.