Political Vendetta In Rajasthan
Rajasthan’s boastful Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot claims that his government has given an honest and transparent administration, but the fact remains that tpoliticians have been provided patronage and they along with the criminals and anti-social elements thrive on it. The Police officials are the worst victims of this, they have to repeatedly face the wrath of the politicians.
The people of the border district of Jaisalmer have resented the way the Jaisalmer police superintendent Pankaj Choudhary was transferred just 48 hours after reopening the history sheet of the Congress MLA Saleh Mohammed’s father Gazi Fakir. Father Fakir is the spiritual head of the Peer Pagaro sect in Rajasthan, which has its headquarter in the Sindh province of Pakistan. The Muslims of western Rajasthan follow the spiritual orders of Peer Pagaro, hence they are also called Sindhi Muslims.
At a time when the country was fuming over the suspension of IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal for taking on the sand-mining mafia, a district superintendent of police who dared an influential legislator of the ruling party in state has been quietly shunted out to a non-field posting. Chaudhary, who had been the district’s SP for barely five months, has been given the new posting of commandant of the Police Training School at Kishangarh (Ajmer).
“I reopened the history sheet against Fakir recently,” confirmed Chaudhary. Gazi Fakir, who was allegedly involved in smuggling and anti-social activities along the Indo-Pak border in the state, had a history-sheet opened against him for the first time on July 31, 1965. The police file, however, went missing in 1984. The history-sheet was reopened six years later in 1990, but it was “illegally” closed in May 2011 by an ASP-rank officer who was then officiating as the district SP.
There were reports that the IPS officer was removed from the field posting owing to pressure from Jaisalmer’s Pokhran MLA Saleh Mohammad. The legislator’s brother Abdullah Fakir, who is Jaisalmer’s elected Zila Pramukh, however, denied the allegation.
“My father is now 80 years old. He cannot see and hear properly. There never was a chargesheet against him and there has been no allegation against him in the past three decades. Even then the history-sheet has been reopened against him. This shows that a political conspiracy is being hatched against us in the election year,” Abdullah said. He added, “We will contest the police decision before the high court rather than put pressure to get an officer transferred.”
“The police booked me in three cases in 1973, but now they have closed one of the cases as there was no evidence found and in two other cases the court exonerated me. Some people labelled me anti-national, but such charges against me were politically motivated and have no sound ground. I am hard of hearing and am suffering from diabetes for last so many years and I have no history of crime after 1973. I had to face the wrath because my son in an Congress MLA. People blame me that I met the Chief Minister and got the SP Chaudhary transferred because he was reopening my file. I met the Chief Minister only twice in four years. The Muslims of the region were being used politically for fetching votes with our support. Having seen political exploitation my family duly involved in politics for the past 15 years and my son is MLA and my brother Fateh Mohammed was the Zila Pramukh and now my son Abdullah is now the Zila Pramukh. The Sindhi Muslims are very strong in the desert region and because of this we have political opponents who feel that we are anti nationals. I can only say India is our country and we would live and die here” said Gazi Fakir.
As the district SP, Chaudhary launched campaigns against touts associated with the tourism industry and the local liquor mafia in Jaisalmer . The police officer had a heated argument with the Fakir’s MLA son for acting against these organized crimes. “Yes, the MLA had problems with police’s efforts in checking
criminal nuisance in the district,” Chaudhary confirmed
BJP MLA Chotu Singh Bhati, demanded that the SP be reinstated. They said that in the past four months, over 50 lapkas (tribes who harass tourists) were caught and over 100 vehicles seized. Besides, over 700 drunkards were caught. The SP had also formed a special team to ensure that liquor shops are closed during the night.
Chotu Singh said that being the border district, police kept a sharp vigil on smugglers and antinational elements due to which there was resentment among such elements and now with the opening of history sheet of Gazi Fakir, the SP was transferred.
Choudhary said that an order had come from the state government on 13th July with instructions to open the history sheet of those who continue with such activities. The SP was following this order and the case was reopened.
The controversy over the transfer of Choudhary had aggravated after a case was lodged against MLA Saleh Mohammad for beating up a policeman on 17th May. A case under sections 341, 342, 352, 353 and 504 of IPC was registered at Jaisalmer Sadar police station against Mohammad, who was involved in a tussle with the members of a police team when they visited his petrol pump on 17th May during ‘Operation Welcome’ drive. The drive was aimed at nabbing touts (lakpas) who harass tourists.
The MLA’s petrol pump is located on National Highway 15, nearly 30 km from Jaisalmer. The case was registered by constable Pappu Ram Meena who was injured in the tussle. Choudhary forwarded the documents of the case to the DGP’s office in Jaipur for further investigation.
Constable Pappu Ram filed a complaint on the same day (May 17), which was registered in the police station’s daily records. “Pappuram is sceptical and worried that he may be harassed by the MLA.
As per the report of constable Meena, on that day, the Operation Welcome team got information that a few lapkas (tourism touts) were chasing a vehicle of tourists with Madhya Pradesh registration number near Basanpeer on the national highway.
Operation Welcome team comprising police personnel Meena, Sahdev, Ramesh and Shankar Lal left for that place. On the way, police spotted the vehicle and met the person who had called them. The latter informed the police that the lapkas had stopped at the petrol pump of Congress MLA Saleh Mohammad at Bhagu-ka-Gaon. The team reached the petrol pump and the lapkas on seeing them started running. The police chased and caught them.
Honest police officers who take the bull by its horn were punished and Choudhary is one of them.
Last year, superintendent of police, Bharatpur, Vikas Kumar was shunted out to a non-field posting for over a year when he dared to launch a campaign against illegal mining. Hundreds of illegal mines are operating in the Aravalli hills in Bharatpur.
In a single day in March last year, Vikas Kumar arrested 97 people from mines in Pahari region. Nearly a month later, he was shifted as commandant of 2nd Rajasthan Armed Battalion in Kota, generally considered a punishment posting. Some local politicians had raised a hue and cry over what was termed as “the biggest-ever crackdown” on the illegal mining in the region. These politicians alleged that most of those who were arrested were innocent people.
MLA from Bharatpur’s Kaman constituency Zahida Khan staged a sit-in and approached the chief minister and chief secretary C K Mathew immediately after the operation. She demanded Vikas Kumar’s transfer from the district. Traders in Bharatpur town had observed a day-long bandh against Vikas Kumar’s transfer. All commercial establishments remained closed a day after his transfer on April 30 last year. “He was punished for carrying out his duties with honesty,” said Vijay Bansal, BJP legislator from Bharatpur.
The 2004-batch officer was posted in Bharatpur three days after the Gopalgarh violence that claimed the lives of 10 Meo Muslims on 14th September 2011. Vikas had registered several FIRs against those who were arrested. But after his transfer no progress was made in these cases. Besides, the police has not taken any action against illegal mining in the region since the transfer of Vikas Kumar.
By Prakash Bhandari From Jaipur