By Mubashir Bukhari
Srinagar, March 22: Inspector General of Police (Traffic) Basant Rath’s tweet on Thursday created a stand-off between traffic cops and executive police.
The IGP Traffic on Thursday morning tweeted a picture with a caption: “Equality before law, ladies and gentlemen”, showing traffic police towing a vehicle of Kothibagh police station that was parked at a ‘wrong place’.
The sight bewildered many and some people were seen taking photographs and videos besides uploading them on social media. The picture of the vehicle went viral on social media with many commenting that “Rath effect has final arrived in Kashmir”.
“Salute to your efforts…. Being an IGP, you would have stayed indoors in an AC room and giving directions from there… Your dedication is appreciable, working like an ordinary cop to bring change and relief to masses,” wrote one of the netizen on his social networking site Facebook.
But minutes after vehicle was towed, police released a letter clarifying that there was a breakdown of the vehicle which belonged to the SHO Kothi Bagh and they had requested the Traffic Department for a crane.
“Kindly provide the recovery van to this police station. As the departmental Sumo Bearing No: JK02 BK/1639 of this police station has some mechanical fault. The vehicle is required to lift for repairing at workshop. As early requested through phone,” reads a letter written by SHO, Kothibagh to SSP Traffic City.
According to the sources, the top brass of the police was livid with IGP traffic and many senior officers were wandering why Rath had gone public without verifying the facts from either SSP Srinagar of IGP Kashmir.
The police also released a CCTV footage showing their men repairing the vehicle at Polo view Srinagar.
Dawood Ayoub, SP East Srinagar said that the vehicle was not challaned. “We had sent our vehicle for repair, so we had asked the traffic department to send recovery van. When they were carrying the vehicle, someone clicked the picture and uploaded it on social media,” he said.
The firebrand IGP Traffic later sought an apology through his twitter handle by terming it as a mistake. “Friends, this was a mistake. My mistake. I should have verified the information that was fed to me. The police station vehicle was not challaned. And I’m not going to delete any of my tweets or Facebook status updates. I’m accountable. I’ll always be accountable,” he wrote.
Basant Rath, has already earned a name for being Jammu’s ‘Singham’ for his uncompromising attitude towards traffic violations, no matter who the violator is.
Within a month’s time, he has made his presence felt in winter capital Jammu by streamlining the city’s traffic mess.
Recently he visited Srinagar and promised to streamline the city traffic. He also warned violations and promised to take strict action against those who violate rules be it VIPS.