The swiftness with which the Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) constable Yogesh Goral was suspended in a matter of hours has reason to raise eyebrows. Not many people manage to suspend their Achilles’ heel virtually at the drop of a hat. Though the official communiqué last evening denied that the suspension was ordered following a phone call from Chief Secretary to Director General of Police, our contention is that the speed with which the supposedly errant cop was penalized raises suspicion.
Reportedly, the trigger for Goral’s suspension was the manner in which he demanded the identity of a citizen after nightfall. What evidently irked the “connected” individual was Goral’s apparent arrogance, even humiliating questioning. But, the subsequent action from the government reflects the functioning of the government arm, where decisions are taken based on “connections” rather than following proper procedures . Would this have happen if a local citizen without the right connections complained to the higher up? Extremely doubtful. Would this have happened if a Goan journo or citizen was treated badly in Delhi or Varanasi?
The individual, who we guess was a visitor to Goa, was sighted with a young woman, who apparently was upset on being demanded to identify himself. At that point, he threatened to get even with the three policemen.
We are not quite aware what the discussion was between the policemen and the duo. If Goral earned the ire of the police chief, who evidently went out of the way to appease his master — in this case reportedly the Chief Secretary, who in turn was connected with the visitor, it makes a sad commentary on the functioning, attitudes, operation and the men who run the government itself.
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar only last week in a talk to Goa police, urged them to work diligently, but he clarified yesterday that he implied that policemen ought to be alert, even while not on duty, though they have to abide by certain restrictions. He has now clearly clarified that the police man had the onerous duty of intervening in a crime, whether he is off duty or on duty.
Parrikar has now specified that he had told them that if they anticipate that a crime is about to be committed, then they should not ignore it simply because they are off-duty. In any case, this is the duty of every citizen, universally called not to be indifferent to situations.
With the chief minister now calling for a detailed report on the suspension, and his willingness to hear the suspended constable’s version, it amply indicates that Parrikar is out to give justice.
It is however undeniable that often central bureaucrats abuse State facilities. There have been instances where those connected to all India services and Central services cadre bureaucrats on private visits to Goa use State machinery, including vehicles and accommodation to make their stay comfortable. And considering that Goa is an international destination, there is no dearth of such connected visitors and friends of bureaucrats or fellow bureaucrats from other parts, who perpetually visit Goa on holidays and abuse Goan hospitality. There was even an instance when a lady Mayor from Hyderabad attended a conference for Reviewing of the Constitution, sporting a vehicle with a red beacon belonging to a Secretary hailing from the same state. Fellow bureaucrats and friends once they arrive in Goa, contact their peers or bureaucrats from their states who are posted in Goa and abuse state machinery.
Policemen on the other hand are not saints. They are often accused of uncouth behaviour which is an undeniable reality, with even cops involved in extortion. There are cases where foreigners have been falsely implicated in drugs. Whatever be it, the fact of the matter is such impromptu suspension demoralizes the police force. The government has to come clear on this action after inquiry.