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Testing times, says Delhi Police chief Amulya Patnaik at protest by police personnel, asks them to return to duty

The rare protest by the police constabulary and officers had started with just a handful of cops. But as word spread, hundreds of police personnel left their posts to head to the old headquarters of the police force at the congested ITO area.

Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik on Tuesday asked scores of police personnel protesting outside his office to resume duty, telling them that he expected justice for the police in the inquiry instituted by the high court.

“These are testing times (for the police), there are expectations (from the police) and there should be patience,” said Patnaik in his brief address to the police personnel outside police headquarters in the heart of the national capital Delhi.

He also asked the police personnel not to generalise the isolated incidents that had taken place, reposed faith in the judiciary inquiry and promised “legal action” against people responsible for Monday’s assault on policemen.

The rare protest by the police constabulary and officers had started with just a handful of cops. But as word spread, hundreds of police personnel left their posts to head to the old headquarters of the police force at the congested ITO area. As the number of policemen swelled and spilled over to the roads, traffic police shut down one carriageway.

For a protest that had started out without any slogan shouting, it was also getting louder.

The protest comes days after the police and lawyers were involved in a violent clash at Tis Hazari court following a parking dispute on Saturday. The violence left at least 20 policemen injured, lawyer groups said 40 of their colleagues were also hurt.

The high court took note of the incident and ordered transfer of two senior police officers, the suspension of two other officers and compensation to the injured lawyers. The police fraternity has been sore that there was no action against the

On Monday, there were some more instances of policemen being beaten, allegedly by lawyers. Some of these were captured on video. Like the one that showed a constable in uniform being repeatedly slapped and elbowed by lawyers outside the Saket court. All that the policeman could do was escape on his motorcycle.

The widely-circulated videos provoked outrage, on and off social media. Police officers said the outrage turned to disappointment in the absence of any statement from the Delhi Police brass.

As the crowd outside police headquarters swelled, the Delhi Police brass invited some of the protesters inside to hear them out. But they put their foot down and wanted the police commissioner to address them all.

When he stepped out to speak with the policemen a few hours later, Patnaik repeatedly stressed that these were testing times and reminded them that the public had a great deal of expectations from them. And that they should uphold the law.

“We have always faced challenges, handled different situations,” Patnaik said. In his brief speech, Patnaik alluded to the clash with the lawyers as an incident that happened on Saturday in North district. The officers handled it well, he said. Yesterday also, there were some isolated incidents.

The slogan shouting continued through most of his speech, repeating “justice, justice”.

“The situation, as compared to that day, is improving a lot,” Patnaik said as he spoke about legal action against people who were involved in yesterday’s “incident”. The calls for justice grew louder.

“Based on High Court’s orders, a judicial enquiry is being carried out in the matter. I appeal to all to maintain peace and return to your duties. We all should have faith that the judicial inquiry will be carried out in a fair manner,” said Patnaik.

Alluding to the police officers who had been transferred or suspended, Patnaik said he was confident that officers who led the team of police officers on Saturday would be cleared by the judicial panel.

The protest continued despite the police chief’s assurance; the policemen are demanding ‘justice’ and swift action against the ‘culprits’ in connection with the clash with advocates.

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