- IPS officer seen pledging to build Ram temple in Ayodhya
- Yogi Adityanath government is learnt to have sought an explanation
- IPS officer said viral video has edited version of his pledge
"We, Ram bhakts, in this programme, pledge that a grand Ram temple will be built soonest. Jai Sri Ram," say the men present at the function, reportedly held at Lucknow University. Among them is Surya Kumar Shukla, a senior IPS or Indian Police Service Officer of the 1982 batch of the UP cadre at present posted as the state's director general of Home Guards. Mr Shukla, wearing a grey jacket, is seen in the video standing to the left of the man who administered the pledge.
"Mr Shukla is a public servant, and he is not supposed to take such a pledge at a public function," said Samajwadi Party spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary.
The Yogi Adityanath government is learnt to have sought an explanation and the officer went public with his side of the story.
But the IPS Association, the key body of officers from the premier police service, weren't entirely convinced. In an unusual tweet, the association put out a video of the pledge and asserted that this wasn't in line with the ethos that the police service stands for.
We disassociate ourselves from the act of a senior #IPS officer as shown in the video & reiterate that it is against the ethos of neutrality, fairness and uprightness that Indian Police Service stands for. pic.twitter.com/PoAxmlFBfL- IPS Association (@IPS_Association) February 2, 2018
In his clarifications, Mr Shukla has underlined that "there is misinterpretation" of what he said.
"I was taking a pledge to create an atmosphere of harmony. The video that has gone viral is an edited version and portions have been deleted deliberately to create mischief," he said, adding, "The matter related more to creating a peaceful environment for the construction of the temple rather than construction itself."
The event in Lucknow that Mr Shukla participated in was held days before a three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by the Chief Justice of India starts final hearings to decide whether a temple to Lord Ram can be built in Ayodhya at the site where the Babri Masjid was razed in 1992. The court has said it will hold daily hearings from February 8 on petitions challenging a 2010 high court verdict on the Ayodhya title suit.
The Allahabad High Court had divided the disputed site in three parts -- one each for Hindu group Nirmohi Akhara, the Ram Lalla or infant Lord Ram represented by the Hindu Mahasabha, and the Sunni Waqf Board which handles properties owned by Sunni Muslims.