Nashik citizens agitate to bring back police chief, government relents

June 16th, 2009 - 12:39 am ICT by IANS  

Nashik (Maharashtra), June 15 (IANS) The Maharashtra government Monday bowed before citizens’ protests and revoked the transfer orders of Nashik Police Commissioner V.D. Mishra.
Home Minister Jayant Patil announced in the state Legislative Council in Mumbai Monday evening that the popular city police chief would continue in his post.

Mishra was among the 17 high-ranking Indian Police Service (IPS) officers across the state, including former Mumbai police commissioner Hasan Gafoor, who were abruptly transferred on Saturday.

Appointed barely two months ago, Mishra’s sudden transfer angered the people of Nashik and they came out in droves opposing the government’s move.

Since Sunday, the town has witnessed spontaneous protests, road blocks and partial strikes as a huge number of people came out to express solidarity with Mishra.

People, cutting across party lines, men, women and senior citizens’ groups came out in support of Mishra and blocked the busy Nashik-Pune highway for several hours Monday morning.

Social and anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare had also come out in open support of Mishra, an IPS officer of the 1984 batch. On Monday morning, the Magsaysay Award winner had warned of a state-level agitation if his transfer was not immediately cancelled.

“I have only done my duty impartially. I have controlled the law and order situation as it should be done, so the people have supported it,” Mishra told IANS, shortly after the government’s announcement.

Hailing from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, Mishra said that in the past five years, the crime statistics in the famous temple town had shown an alarming upswing.

“There are many land-related crimes, vehicle thefts and robberies, which needed to be tackled firmly in the spirit of the law. We served externment orders on 25 dreaded criminals and people have appreciated these efforts,” he said.

When the matter came up in the assembly, Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal assured that he would request Chief Minister Ashok Chavan to reconsider the Mishra transfer issue.

When the members demanded immediate withdrawal of the transfer orders, Patil relented and agreed to do so.

“Taking into consideration the growing agitation by the Nashik citizens, we have decided to stay the transfer order,” Patil announced to the thumping of desks by the Legislative Council members.

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