To express support for colleagues arrested in Apple executive shooting case
The Uttar Pradesh police are bracing for another possible round of dissent by its personnel in solidarity with constable Prashant Chaudhary, who is accused of shooting dead Apple executive Vivek Tiwari for not stopping his car.
Messages have been circulating on social media and WhatsApp urging police personnel to boycott duty on October 10 in support of the arrested constable.
While U.P. police spokesperson Vivek Tripathi said “anti-social elements and those inimical to law and order might be propagating falsehood,” a confidential alert issued by the SP (intelligence) of Meerut has alarmed the police force. According to the letter, the messages exhort personnel to boycott work and traffic duties. They have also been asked to wear black bands.
The alert comes after several U.P. police personnel wore black bands and held protests in support of Prashant Chaudhary on October 5.
Amid this, Mr. Chaudhary’s wife Rakhi Malik, who is also a constable, has appealed to her colleagues not to go ahead with the protests. “I have full faith in the police force… that the probe in our case and the action will be based on the incident,” Ms. Malik said in a video message late on Sunday.
The police force has threatened to take strict action against personnel who participate in the protests. DGP O.P Singh has issued social media guidelines to deter his colleagues from spreading protest messages.
Disciplinary action has been taken against several policemen. Two constables, Keshav Dutt Pandey and Mohammad Shadab, from Ghazipur were suspended on Sunday for wearing black bands, while 11 others were sent to the reserve lines. Another constable Niraj Kumar of Bareilly was suspended on Saturday for posting an objectionable video on Facebook. Three constables in Lucknow, Jitendra Kumar Verma, Sumit Kumar and Gaurav Chaudhary, were suspended for spreading disquiet among the police force. The concerned officers in-charge of these police stations were also removed from their positions for negligence. Constable Sarvesh Choudhary, attached to the PAC in Raebareli, was earlier suspended and disciplinary action initiated against him for posting a provocative video in support of the accused constable.
Two former cops were also arrested from Varanasi and Mirzapur.
Downplaying the show of dissent by some police personnel, Mr. Singh said the entire “police force should not be maligned on the basis of the conduct of one or two” policemen. “Two constables cannot be our brand ambassadors,” he said.
Police had filed an FIR after complaints that several unknown persons posing as policemen were posting messages to invite disaffection among the force.