A week after the unceremonious exit of police chief Arup Patnaik in the aftermath of the August 11 riots, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday switched positions of joint commissioner (law and order) Rajneesh Seth with Force-I director Sadanand Date. Force-I was specially set up to tackle terror following the 26/11 attacks.
After Patnaik and Seth, pressure is now mounting on Chavan and home minister R R Patil to shift additional commissioner Krishna Prakash and deputy commissioner Ravindra Shiswe. “Chavan has transferred Patnaik and Seth for mishandling the riots. By the same logic, we feel Prakash and Shiswe will be shifted as well. Otherwise, the action will appear partial,” a senior IPS official said.
Raza Academy had got permission from the Azad Maidan police station to hold a small rally on August 11 to protest against the alleged atrocities on the minority community in Assam. The crowd at the rally, though, began to swell and reportedly more than 50,000 protesters turned up. Despite the specific assurance of a peaceful rally, a section of the crowd turned violent and went on the rampage.
According to the IPS official, not just Prakash and Shiswe, even Seth was present at the spot but they were unable to control the mob. “After the violence broke out, Patnaik reached the spot immediately and made an attempt to tackle the situation. Under such circumstances, if at all action must be taken, it should be against all the three officials and not just Patnaik,” he said.In the wake of the inept handling of the situation, the opposition has been demanding the home minister’s resignation. A week after the rally, the Raj Thackeray-led MNS took out a huge rally to press for the removal of both Patil and Patnaik, who was recently transferred to the Maharashtra State Security Corporation.
Meanwhile, if a senior IPS official is to be believed, Patnaik had personally called on Chavan to express his displeasure over his new assignment. “Patnaik has made it clear to both Chavan and Patil that he would not take up the new assignment and was looking for a central deputation post,” he said. Another major transfer is additional director general (establishment) Javed Ahmad, who has been made the additional director general (law and order) in place of Satyapal Singh, who took over as police commissioner from Patnaik.