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HomeIndiaYears of resentment sparked Delhi Police’s unprecedented protest, lawyer attacks a catalyst

Years of resentment sparked Delhi Police’s unprecedented protest, lawyer attacks a catalyst

Former Delhi Police Commissioners blame lack of leadership, making lower rung officers scapegoats along with excessive workload for discontentment.

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New Delhi: In an extraordinary situation, Delhi’s police force Tuesday took to the streets and gathered outside the police headquarters to vociferously protest against the apathy of senior officials and demand “justice and the respect they deserve”.

The immediate catalyst for the protest may have been the incidents of assault on policemen at Tis Hazari, Karkadooma and Saket courts in the past week, but discontentment among the personnel has been simmering for long, said retired police officers.

Former Delhi Police Commissioners ThePrint spoke to pointed to several problems that have plagued the personnel, pushing them towards the full-throated demonstration. They cited issues such as a lack of a strong leadership, inadequate support from seniors, making lower rung officers scapegoats, zero interaction with the police commissioner, along with poor working conditions, excessive workload and multiple duties.

Such is the depth of discontentment that even Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik, who appealed to the personnel to end the protest and return to work, was jeered and heckled, something unseen until now.

This is the first time in the history of the Delhi Police that the men in uniform have come out to speak vehemently against the indifference of the senior officers towards their problems.

“For how long can we tolerate this? We were bound to break at some point. We are the ones who work for more than 20 hours a day at a stretch and still get abused, beaten up,” said Constable Meena, who did not want to reveal his full name.

“And then we do not get any support from our top officers. Instead, we are the ones who become answerable if we take any action,” added Meena, who is posted at a police station in North Delhi.

Also read: If we are abused or beaten up, should we remain quiet — protesting Delhi policemen ask

Irreparable damage

A former police commissioner, who did not want to be named, told ThePrint that lack of a strong leadership required to keep the force together was the main reason for this outburst.

“This happens when the force feels that they are headless, when they know that no one is standing by their side. There can be nothing more unfortunate than losing the trust of your force,” he said.

He added that the Delhi High Court had demanded action against the policemen in the Tis Hazari case, and not the lawyers, then the police should have appealed against it.

“Why did the police not appeal? This is despite the fact that videos clearly show that policemen too were being assaulted. The police department should have stood firm with their men and appealed,” he said.

He further said there have been a series of incidents, including the Mukherjee Nagar one in which six police personnel were suspended for allegedly manhandling a Sikh man who tried to attack them with a sword. All this, the former commissioner said, has hurt the morale of the force.

“When there is no leadership, the morale of the force degenerates. It has never happened earlier that the personnel have come out to protest against their senior officers. This is a wake-up call,” he added.

“The damage has now been done. It will take years for the original morale of the force to return.”

Another former Delhi Police commissioner told ThePrint that often lower rung officers were made to take the fall for something that had gone wrong in the handling of a case. This “easy picking” of personnel, he said, had also contributed towards their resentment.

“They (top brass) need to understand that if they make their own men easy picks to shield themselves, they will lose the trust of their force forever. And once that happens, the fall of the force will begin,” he said.

“For how long can the top brass hide their mistakes, putting the blame on the lower rung officers? It is the worst thing to do as a leader. If you do not stand up for your force, they too will not respect you. That is exactly what has happened,” he added.

A former Delhi Police Special Commissioner blamed the senior officers’ ignorance of the problems faced by their juniors.  

“When someone joins the police force, they are aware that they will have to devote all their time here. The problem comes when your seniors leave you in the firing line and do not stand by your side. All they need is a little boost, a conciliation that he has the officer’s back. This is what was lacking here,” he said.

Also read: Lawyer-Delhi Police row: is it tough to empathise with cops due to their poor image?

Senior officers come in support

Along with the protesting personnel, some senior officers of the rank of Deputy Commissioner were present in the crowd to give moral support.

“We are here to tell them that we are with them. They are fighting for the right cause. And since the protest is peaceful, it is not illegal. They too have rights,” an officer told ThePrint.

Some IPS officers also took to Twitter to condemn the assault on the policemen.

IPS officer D. Roopa, IGP Railways, tweeted a video of a policeman being thrashed by a lawyer outside the Saket court, calling it a “mockery of the system”.

DGP, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Deependra Pathak also took to Twitter to call the lawyers “Lumpen elements in the garb of Black Coat”.

The IPS Association also came out in the support of policemen.

Also read: Congress questions Amit Shah’s silence on police taking to streets after clash with lawyers


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  1. Most shameful to see Men in Uniform police uniform protesting shunning law enforcement. With this act Delhi Police lost moral ground to supress any peaceful protests by citizens. I think tomorrow if thousands of victims of crime whose has filed FIR in police stations across the state with pending investigation by Delhi Police reach Police Headquarters and protest, what will be their response. Lawyers are not Govt servants but police are entrusted/armed/empowered with law enforcement duties which they can not shun just like that.

    • Lawyers are not govt servants. True. But they are officers of the Court. Isn’t it? And in the court the principle followed is my judge, my lawyer, right or wrong. Have ever seen any judge punished for gross miscarriage of justice even when his orders are set aside or overruled by appellate courts? In my opinion the judge advocate nexus is more intimidating that the much bandied politician bureaucrat underworld nexus. And who suffers? Ordinary citizens.

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