New Delhi: An officer of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has been booked by police for allegedly running a fake Twitter account in the name of the RSS, and using it to tweet in support of granting Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) officers parity with their IPS counterparts.
The episode comes amid a longstanding tussle between the CAPFs and the Indian Police Service (IPS) over the latter occupying senior positions in paramilitary forces such as the CRPF and other parity-related issues.
According to a letter written Tuesday by the superintendent of police for Sivagangai in Tamil Nadu to the CRPF director general, police received a complaint on 14 June regarding “a fake Twitter account impersonating RSS which was tweeting in favour of direct recruit (DR) Asst Commandants and bringing disrepute to the police as well as with intention to create disaffection in the police force”.
The letter has been accessed by ThePrint.
The controversial tweets posted by the handle @RSS_FORINDIA, which has now been deleted, included one that said, “Just as after a long legal struggle, the path of the grand temple of Lord Shri Rama in Ayodhya has been paved, so will justice be done with #OGASTOCAPF. Truth can be troubling, not defeated. It is possible if Modi is there. Jai Shri Ram.”
#OGASTOCAPF or “Organised Group A Service to CAPF” is a hashtag employed by social media campaigns in favour of parity for CAPFs.
After police filed an FIR against unknown persons in this regard, an assistant commandant of the CRPF, Ravi Ranjan Sinha, filed a quash petition in the Madras High Court where he “confessed” his crime, and also sought anticipatory bail. He was subsequently fixed as the accused in the case.
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ThePrint tried to contact Sinha via calls and messages, but there was no response. He has, however, refuted the allegation of impersonation in his writ petition, saying he was just a fan of the RSS. CRPF spokesperson M. Dinkaran said via Whatsapp that he was not aware of the case, and would get back with a response.
However, a senior CRPF officer who wished to remain anonymous distanced the force from the Twitter account and said it was done in the officer’s personal capacity. The officer called the episode “highly irresponsible”.
Departmental inquiry sought
In his letter to the CRPF DG, the superintendent of police has said that “creating disaffection amongst the police force and government by a government servant is a punishable criminal offence as well as violation of conduct rules”.
“This crime and delinquency is hereby informed to you. It should also be brought to your notice that the accused has sent an apology letter to complainant requesting him to withdraw the case as well as trying through several means to influence the outcome of the case apart from destroying evidence for the case,” the letter adds.
The SP has also requested the CRPF DG to initiate a departmental inquiry against the officer.
‘A dangerous trend’
CRPF officers have for a long time been using social media to build pressure on the government to grant them parity with IPS officers and allow them to hold leadership positions in the CAPFs, which are currently reserved for IPS officers.
However, sources in the Tamil Nadu Police said using the name of organisations like the RSS would set a “dangerous precedent”.
“It seems that this officer was trying to manipulate people into thinking that these are the views of the RSS… You can go on fighting for your administrative rights, but this kind of manipulation is dangerous,” a police officer said.
“Besides, it adversely affects the neutrality of the force if a public servant claims to be affiliated to any kind of political organisation,” another IPS officer said. “It is a dangerous trend that needs to be nipped in the bud before it creeps into the force.”
‘Natural affiliation to RSS’
According to the writ petition filed by the CRPF officer, which has been seen by ThePrint, the officer got his elementary education at the Shishu Bala Mandir run by the RSS.
The officer has also argued that simply calling the Twitter handle “RSS_FORINDIA” does not amount to impersonation since a “fan of RSS can use an account showing his lean on the organisation and it would not be called as an impersonation”.
“Since he (the petitioner) has received primary education in RSS run schools, thus has natural affinity to RSS,” the petition further adds.
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