Bangalore: Two days after his government railroaded significant amendments to the Karnataka Police Act in the upper house of the state legislature, chief minister Siddaramaiah exhorted senior police officers to discharge the duties expected of them and warned them of severe punishment — not just suspension and transfer — if they failed.
In his maiden meeting with police top brass at the state police headquarters on Thursday, Siddaramaiah spent more than four hours with the officers setting out his government’s agenda and reviewing requirements and grievances of the force.
He attempted to drive home the point that there would be no tolerance for corruption. “People want a change and so they have replaced the old government with mine,” the chief minister said. “My government is answerable to the masses and you are answerable to me. I am in a hurry to effect change and fulfil people’s aspirations. So, work hard.”
“We have given you what you want, so discharge your duties diligently. Otherwise, severe punishment awaits you. I won’t stop with transferring erring officers. The punishment will be harsher,” he warned.
Another area on which Siddaramaiah focused was enhancing the functioning of police stations. He urged senior officers to visit police stations regularly and monitor the investigation of cases to achieve a higher conviction rate. “There should be no scope for carelessness in investigating cases,” he added.
The chief minister warned that officers of the rank of superintendent of police will be held responsible for lapses in districts just as deputy commissioners and commissioners will be held accountable for lapses in cities.
If citizens expect the new government to relax laws pertaining to the city’s nightlife, they are in for a disappointment. The CM ordered police top brass to crackdown on illegal activities like matka, betting, live band joints, video game parlours and discotheques.
He was critical of policemen soiling their hands in real estate activities in Bangalore and other urban areas. He told the seniors to see that police stations are not converted into real estate agencies. He was also critical of inmates in state jails being able to sneak in and use mobile phones. He directed officials of the prisons department to put an end to this menace. He advised prisons department head, K V Gagandeep, additional director general of police, to read one of his reports submitted to the legislature on prisons.
He came down heavily on illegal sand mining and asked Southern range IGP Ramachandra Rao to put an end to it. He asked police officials about the involvement of some ministers’ children in sand mining. Similarly, he directed Bangalore police commissioner B G Jyothiprakash Mirji to stop live bands, video games and discotheques. The chief minister was also critical of police dancing to the tunes of the political lot. “I know that some police officers book false cases at the behest of ruling party MLAs. Don’t do it; go by rule of law. Otherwise, punishment awaits you,” he said.
Siddaramaiah expressed astonishment over the decreasing crime rate in police records. With a tinge of sarcasm, he wondered how the crime rate is declining in police statistics when the population is increasing. He advised the intelligence department to pull up its socks. “Most of the time, intelligence fellows do not know what is going on,” was his comment on the functioning of intelligence sleuths. “We need a separate cadre for intelligence,” he added.
The chief minister also handed a blow to senior police officers by talking about the removal of orderlies and gunmen who are made to do household chores in the homes of senior police officers. This is likely to go down hard with senior officers and their wives and children.
Following the chief minister’s diatribe, senior officers of the rank of range IGPs and heads of different units were allowed to speak and tell the CM what they expect and require of the new government to enhance the functioning of the force. The requests largely revolved around more manpower and vehicles. Home minister K J George was present in the meeting as were majority of the top brass of the force.
CRACKDOWN ON DANCE BARS REACHES COURT
Around the same time on Thursday as chief minister Siddaramaiah told the police to take a tough stance against illegal activities like
dance bars, discotheques, betting and skill game parlours, trade bodies representing these businesses were knocking on the doors
of High Court of Karnataka seeking its intervention to stop harassment by law enforcing authorities.
The court agreed to hear the plaint of dance bars on Friday and that of the rest on Monday.
Though Siddaramaiah and, before him, home minister K J George a few days back, have both directed the police force to come down heavily on ‘illegal’ activities in the city like live bands. Dance bars have been banned in the city since 2005, and the bar girls who used to gyrate earlier in front of the clientele ostensibly work as waitresses now.
The overdrive on the part of the new Congress government and thereby the police does not seem to have impacted the dozen discotheques
in the city because the run with licences with dance floors and have the closing time as other restaurants.
Asource in Amnesia, the discotheque in Chancery Pavilion on Residency Road, said, “There has been no directive from the government
about taking away our dance licence, so the parties continue.”
Sutra, the disco at Lalit Ashok, seems to have had a small hiccup, and nothing more. A source said, “Last Saturday, some local authorities
came at 9.45 pm and asked the music to be stopped. Guests were annoyed. The authorities refused to say who had sent them.
They didn’t even give us a written notice. But after that, there has been no issue. Our parties have continued every night.”
The case of ‘dance bars’ is different. The Bangalore Working Women Owners’ Association and Bangalore Ladies Service Bar Owners Association have decided to take the legal route. Jeevan B N, owner of a bar and restaurant which has women as bartenders, said, “It is always wrongly reported that we are live bands.
We are actually ‘ladies service bars’ where women work as bartenders. We have legal sanction and the High Court order permits
women to work in bars.”