A picture of a policeman in uniform kneeling down before a man in saffron robes probably wouldn’t attract as much attention. But if we tell you that the man in saffron robes is the chief minister of a state, it lays bare the fragile dynamics of the relationship between law enforcement and legislators.
The image that shows a cop kneeling down with folded hands before Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath is raising quite a few eyebrows on social media. During Guru Purnima, the cop Pravin Singh sought blessings from Adityanath, who is also ‘Peethadishwar’ and ‘Mahant’ (head priest) of the Gorakhnath math.
An Indian Express report says Singh, who is posted as Circle Officer at Gorakhnath in Gorakhpur, did it “out of devotion” while he was deployed at the temple for security duty. Initially, the officer had shown off the images on his Facebook account but later decided to restrict the access to his account.
Following criticism, Singh clarified his stand. “Out of my devotion and after removing my belt, cap and other accessories and covering my head with a handkerchief, I took blessings of Peethadishwar Mahant Yogi Adityanath. My shirt was wet with sweat and I had not ignored my work. Mahant Yogi sits in the position of a guru on two occasions in the temple – one at the time of Dussehra and other on Guru Purnima. I always pray at the temple for serving the country honestly and with dedication. It was just out of my devotion towards Baba Gorakhnath and nothing else,” news agency PTI quoted Praveen Kumar Singh.
NDTV quoted Amitabh Thakur, Inspector General (Civil Defence) who claims the episode has a “grey area”. “This is a grey area and can be interpreted either way. But, a police officer needs to uphold the dignity of his uniform,” he said.
This is how Twitter reacted:
Very unfortunate…what will these coward police men do when crime takes place…..especially crime committed by bjp leaders??? Shame???
— Nayak@Hassan (@NayakHassan) July 28, 2018
Will these ppl ever keep up the pride of their profession, except god Judiciary and law enforcement should not bow their head to anyone, these are shame
— Shreeraam (@PatrioticIndia3) July 28, 2018
The cop could have done it in plain clothes but he prefered to bow down in uniform.
— Saurabh Trivedi (@saurabh3vedi) July 27, 2018
Dear @Uppolice @gorakhpurpolice@adgzonegkr @OP_Singh83 @upcoprahul , could you please clarify if 1. This is a violation of the UP govt conduct rules 2. If a public act like this by an officer in uniform is desirable …. https://t.co/XH4U2Mfcr0
— Alok Pandey (@alok_pandey) July 28, 2018
In another such incident, a picture of a Delhi police officer taking blessings from a self-styled godman had gone viral. Following the backlash, the official was transferred to an insignificant post.