Bengaluru: Shashidhar Venugopal, the head of the state police association (mahasangha), who whipped up a near-revolt in the disciplined force, has a murky past, according to top police sources here.
Efforts were made to dig up his antecedents and it came to light that he had been sacked from the police force sometime in 1997-98. Ever since, under the guise of police welfare, he is said to have been trying to settle old score with his past superiors and higher-ups.
With no job and no known sources of income, Shashidhar is said to be staying in a Rs 6-crore house, according to a former colleague.
Shashidhar’s posts in the Facebook betray his intentions. He called the police strike ”sipayi dange” comparing it to the first phase of the Indian independence struggle in 1857, referred to as ‘Sepoy Mutiny’ in British records.
He also dragged prime minister Modi into the picture by adding his image, which may have definitely embarrassed him.
The most ominous element of his campaign was his call to the police to revolt and bring the government down because the constitutional machinery had broken down. This was a clear challenge to the state and the rule of law.
This led to the midnight swoop on his residence and his arrest a few days before the planned strike. He is currently lodged in jail under judicial custody until the middle of the month.
On Friday, the Davanagere police arrested Gurupadaiah Mathad, president of the Karnataka Police Family Welfare Association, for inciting the police to strike work when the ESMA was in force.
He has been charged with sedition, incitement and other offences. He had once been arrested on May 27 for circulating handbills relating to police protest.
Enquiries have revealed that the police force had made no formal request for a revision in the perks, while the matter of implementing the reports of various commissions was under consideration.
Vested interests, various political parties and organizations with their own agenda and some elements within the ruling party who were waiting in the wings to embarass the government joined hands.
DG and IGP Om Prakash’s express orders to lower-rung officers to speak to their men and convince them of the consequences of such a step yielded results.
Besides, the government’s invocation of the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) and the warning that if the families came on the streets they would be evicted from the official accommodations had the desired effect.
The main opposition party, which tried to reap a political harvest from the issue, itself did not do anything to help the police force in their plight during the five years it had ruled, a top police official pointed out.
More alarming was the interference of religious heads in the police matters, on the pretext of showing sympathy. Shri Pejawar Swamiji alone stood apart and frantically requested the police force to drop their agitation and come to the table for discussions.
As the matter has settled down now, it is the immediate duty of the government that the grievances of the police force are addressed.
No action taken on housing
Mangaluru: During the rule of the previous government, Mangalorean.com had published a detailed, pictorial report on the pitiable state of police housing in the city. A whole set of pictures had been handed to the chief minister himself at his own residence in the city by the editor-in-chief.
Although the then-CM expressed shock and sadness at the state of affairs, not much improvement has taken place thereafter.