By Pooja Prasanna

In the first review meeting with police officers after coming to power, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy CM DK Shivakumar, issued a strict warning to those who were perceived to be close to the previous BJP establishment. Slamming the police officers for allowing the force to be ‘saffronised’, he sarcastically asked the gathering why they hadn’t turned up in saffron for the meeting according to sources. The high-level meeting that lasted around 60 minutes was attended by over 30 officers above the rank of Inspector General.

Even as the Chief Minister watched, Shivakumar was the first to launch into the police officers and accused them of having worked for the BJP’s political agenda over the last four years. An officer at the meeting quoted him as saying, “We remember how you behaved with me and Siddaramaiah. You have troubled thousands of our party workers, we have been watching how you colluded with BJP and danced to their tunes. We have proof against you. If this is how you behave with us, we can imagine how you treat common citizens who come with their grievances.”

“During the election campaign, you helped file many cases of Model Code of Conduct violations against Congress but not as many against the BJP,” another officer said, paraphrasing Shivakumar.

One policeman said that Shivakumar warned officers from the Old Mysore region that they would be taken to task if they tried to safeguard activists of militant Hindu groups. Two incidents in the region are believed to have prompted this outburst. First, the statements of CN Ashwath Narayan who had made a public statement in Mandya that Siddaramaiah should be “finished off” in the same way Tipu Sultan was. Asking if this was not a crime, Shivakumar reportedly accused the officers of not taking any action against Ashwath Narayan and of having worked against Congress leaders.

The second reason for picking on officers from the Old Mysore region was the instances of cow vigilantism which have often turned violent in the region. The Deputy CM accused the police of not taking action on time to stop them from terrorising Muslim cattle transporters such as Idrees Pasha who was tortured and killed just a few metres away from the Sathanur police station in DK Shivakumar’s constituency.

Also citing the example of police personnel wearing saffron during Sangh sponsored religious events in Vijayapura, Bagalkot and Udupi, Shivakumar warned officials that such open display of ideology will not be tolerated…

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