Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik, who was criticised by some parties for his handling of a riot in the city earlier this month, has been transferred. The city's new Police Commissioner is Satyapal Singh
Today, after taking over his new job, Mr Satyapal Singh said, "I am proud to be made as the Commissioner of Police of Mumbai. I will try to fulfil the responsibilities bestowed on me."
Mr Singh added that Mumbai is going through a difficult phase "and it is my job to restore their confidence."
Though the government says that Mr Patnaik has been promoted to Director General, sources admit that his posting was at the insistence of Sharad Pawar's NCP, which co-governs Maharashtra with the Congress. Mr Patnaik will now be posted as the Managing Director of Maharashtra State Security Corporation (MSSC).
The state's Home Minister RR Patil, who belongs to Mr Pawar's party today insisted that Mr Patnaik's transfer - he stressed on fact that it was a promotion - is not a political move and that it has nothing to do with the August 11 riot at Mumbai's Azad Maidan. Thousands had gathered to protest against the killings of Muslims in ethnic violence in Assam and Myanmar. An armed mob infiltrated the crowd, and went berserk. Two people were killed and more than 40 injured, many of them policeman. Some policewomen were molested.
Raj Thackeray, who heads the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and held a rally at the same venue earlier this week, had told a crowd of 40,000 people that he expects the government to dismiss both Mr Patnaik and Home Minister RR Patil. Today, MNS spokesperson Shirish Parkar said that while the party does not support Mr Patnaik's promotion, it is glad about the police officer's transfer. He has also said that Home Minister RR Patil should be removed.
Mr Patnaik told NDTV earlier this week that though he has been accused of not acting strongly to curb the riot, he is convinced that he did the right thing, and that he accepts that the buck stops with him. He said that if he had not asked the police to show restraint and had they opened fire, 200-300 people could have been killed. The idea, he said, was to prevent the situation from worsening. From the stage, he ordered that any of the protestors at the rally who dispersed peacefully, would not be arrested.