- "Never drive men and women in uniform to the wall," Kiran Bedi said
- Many protesting cops carried posters of Ms Bedi that read "We miss you"
- She urged Delhi Police "to take a stand and be firm on it come what may"
Never drive men and women in uniform up the wall, said Kiran Bedi, the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry and former IPS officer, reacting to Tuesday's unprecedented protests by police personnel in Delhi and the police-lawyer clashes over the last few days that led to the massive protest.
"When police men and women perform their duty fairly, firmly, fearlessly and responsibly, they need to be protected by their seniors," Ms Bedi said in a statement, defending the police force.
"Never drive men and women in uniform to the wall and let them lose faith in their own service and own seniors," she added.
Thousands of police personnel protested outside Delhi Police headquarters on Tuesday after violent clashes between cops and lawyers at the city's Tis Hazari court complex on Saturday. The protests ended at night after assurances of action from Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and the top police officers.
"...the police departments have exclusive departments of vigilance and departmental enquiries. Hence, it is the duty of the department itself to scrutinise their acts of omission and commision in a rigorous manner," Ms Bedi said. It is the leadership's duty to ensure "no one is prejudged and humiliated for doing their bonafide duty", she said.
The protesters policemen were seen carrying posters of Kiren Bedi that read "we miss you" and chanted slogans of "aa gayi aa gayi sherni aa gayi (the lioness has come)". They placed it right on the top of the entrance of the Police Headquarters building in central Delhi.
Ms Bedi had faced a similar situation in January 1988 when a lawyer arrested for theft at St. Stephen's college was brought to the Tis Hazari court in handcuffs. "But I remained firm and refused to budge to the demand of the lawyers seeking suspension/arrest of the cops responsible for hand cuffing the advocate," she told news agency PTI, adding that the person did not identify himself as an advocate at the time of his arrest and also gave a different name to the police.
She said during the 1988 police-lawyers clashes at Tis Hazari, when she was DCP (North), there were demands from the advocates associations for her suspension and arrest. But then police commissioner Ved Marwah strongly supported her and rejected the demands, she said.
Ms Bedi, who was in charge of traffic in Delhi, was known to be stickler for rules when she was a police officer. She was often referred to as "Crane Bedi", a name she earned from towing away a car in then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's convoy in the call of duty in 1982.