The opposition BJP on Wednesday targeted the Congress government in Karnataka accusing it of ”demoralising” the state police and took strong exception to Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar’s statement on ”saffronisation” of the police force.
Taking officials to task during a meeting with senior police officers over some incidents in the previous BJP regime, Shivakumar on Tuesday had asked: ”Are you planning to saffronise the police department?” He insisted that it would not be allowed in the present government.
Referring to incidents of police personnel sporting saffron shawls or dress during some occasions in Mangaluru, Vijayapura and Bagalkote under the BJP regime, the Deputy Chief Minister had said: ”We will not allow saffronisation of the police department under our government.” BJP leader and former chief minister Basavaraj Bommai on Wednesday said Shivakumar’s statement was ”not a good start” for the new government.
”Governments come and go, but no attempts should be made to demoralise the Home and Police departments which have the responsibility of maintaining law and order and controlling crime. Yesterday’s statement was demoralising… To further their agenda, they have spoken (out) doubting the police,” he said.
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Bommai claimed the Karnataka police has never been or ever will be saffronised while adding that such a phenomenon was just an illusion of the Congress leaders.
Former Home Minister and BJP MLA Araga Jnanendra accused Shivakumar and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of trying to ‘Congress-ise’ the police force in yesterday’s meeting. ”Our policing system is very good. The police act as per law. They don’t discriminate on the basis of religion,” he said.
BJP Vice President and MLA B Y Vijayendra questioned why Congress leaders get agitated on seeing saffron, as he reminded them that the national flag has the colour in the top band.
”It’s an illusion that one can run the government by suppressing the administrative machinery. Those running the administration should bear this in mind,” he said.
Meanwhile, Shivakumar stood by his statement today and said he is not answerable to BJP leaders. ”Looking at their administration, people have already answered,” he said alluding to the BJP’s loss in the just-concluded Assembly polls.
Stating that he was referring to how police personnel in some places wore saffron instead of their uniform to pose for a photograph, he said, ”The police had a good image in Karnataka.” The Deputy Chief Minister also charged the previous BJP regime of using the police to target Congress leaders during its tenure.
”Why was our party MLA and spokesperson Priyank Kharge (now minister) summoned after he raised corruption issues? Was it because he is a Dalit? The police have to work as per the law of the land,” he said.