Will end moral policing, says new Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah in maiden meeting with senior police officials

Siddaramaiah also directed police officials to focus on easing the traffic menace in Bengaluru City and control cybercrimes in the state.

ByBellie Thomas

Published May 24, 2023 | 4:18 AMUpdated May 24, 2023 | 7:37 AM

Will end moral policing, says new Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah in maiden meeting with senior police officials

“No moral policing. We will put an end to this,” asserted the new Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in his maiden meeting with senior police officials at the Vidhana Soudha on Tuesday, 23 May.

People-friendly policing and maintaining law and order should be the priority, and all should be treated equally, he added.

The chief minister directed the officials to take stringent actions against social media posts that indulge in disturbing harmony in society, character assassination, and provocation.

The police should also take strict action against the drug mafia, and Hoysala teams should always be vigilant and prevent crimes in Bengaluru, he said.

“People have elected a new government hoping for change. Officers should respond to their grievances,” he said.

“A separate meeting will be called soon to discuss the easing of Bengaluru City’s traffic congestion,” Siddaramaiah added.

Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar, ministers KJ George, KH Muniyappa, BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan, MB Patil, and Satish Jarakiholi, and ACS to chief minister Dr Rajaneesh Goel were also present at the meeting.

Former BJP chief minister Basavaraj Bommai triggered a controversy in October 2021 when he responded to questions on the rising trend of moral policing incidents carried out by vigilante groups in Mangaluru.

Talking to reporters, Bommai justified moral policing by stating: “This is a sensitive issue. We all have responsibilities in society. There are multiple sentiments in a society and people will need to function in a manner that does not hurt sentiments. When sentiments are hurt, there will normally be action and reaction.”

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Shivakumar seconds CM

Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar seconded Siddaramaiah.

“No more moral policing, no question of wearing all these saffron outfits and sitting before police stations. All these things will not be allowed. No more drugs, no rowdy activities. Everyone will be held responsible. Any unauthorised clubs or illegal activities will be closed. No harassing people. A cordial atmosphere should be there, and it should be a corruption-free government,” he said.

The deputy chief minister also said that every panchayat, municipality, and taluk office will have a friendly atmosphere.

“People were looking for a change, for development, for progress, and this should be our agenda,” he added.

Siddaramaiah told all the officials who were a part of the meeting to not sit in their offices but to go out into the field, understand the ground reality, and take decisions accordingly.

Directing senior officers to visit and inspect police stations, he said the people who go there with problems should be treated courteously, without being looked at as criminals.

Siddaramaiah also told police officials that they should take merciless action to control illegal activities within their police station limits.

“Our government does not tolerate goondaism, illegal club activities, drug mafia,” he said, warning of action against even senior officials over the rank of PI like ACP or DCP if these menaces continued.

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Shivakumar recalls ‘saffronisation’ attempts

Taking officials to task over some incidents under the previous BJP government, Shivakumar asked, “Are you planning to saffronise the police department?”

He said that it would not be allowed under the present government.

Referring to incidents of policemen sporting saffron shawls or dress on occasion in Mangaluru, Vijayapura, and Bagalkote during the BJP government’s tenure, he said, “We will not allow saffronisation of the police department under our government.”

Highlighting the involvement of an Additional Director General of Police-rank official in the Police Sub-Inspector recruitment scam, he said, “Look at the bad state of the department.”

Shivakumar also charged the police with “harassing” Congress leader and now minister Priyank Kharge, who pulled the covers off the scam.

Accusing the police of filing false cases against Congress leaders and workers — including Siddaramaiah and him — during the BJP rule, he said, “We do not hold grudges. We don’t believe in that. You change, leave the past behind. Start a new job.”

Also read: Karnataka government under fire for move to ‘saffronise’ classrooms

Farmers’ issues

Siddaramaiah also conducted a video conference meeting with all the district officials and CEOs, where they were asked to be prepared for the pre-monsoon and monsoon rains that could wreak havoc in Bengaluru as well as other parts of the state.

“As the rains have increased 10 percent this time, 52 people lost their lives, 20,000 hectares of crops have been destroyed, and 814 houses were damaged,” said Siddaramaiah.

“We have to compensate everyone accordingly. The new government is being closely observed by the people, and we have to deliver and meet their expectations. Normal citizens should realise there is change happening this time,” he added.

Fertilisers, seeds, and pesticides should be surplus for supply to farmers, and they should not complain that they did not get any of these agricultural essentials, he said.

“We have given these responsibilities to the officials,” he stated.

Coming to the issue of flooding, Siddaramaiah said: “We all have to learn from past experiences. There were floods earlier as well. We have to learn from experiences.”

He continued: “If there is a dereliction of duty, the government will take stringent action against the concerned officials. Both district officials and CEOs have to visit the field, go to villages, see the ground reality and take decisions accordingly.”

He added: “In Bengaluru, we have given special instructions on issues such as underpasses water-clogging, not allowing traffic through them, scientifically rectifying them, desilting drainage, and clearing all rajakaluves (storm water drains). If water comes onto the road, draining should also be worked out, BBMP officials have been instructed.”

Also read: Woman dies after car zooms into flooded Bengaluru underpass