Senior Cop Warned By Jammu And Kashmir Police Chief Over "Strange Activities"

His alleged use of abusive language, damage to properties such as cellphones, helmets and moving around in plain clothes as he goes about reprimanding traffic violators are among the several points mentioned in a stern letter

Senior Cop Warned By Jammu And Kashmir Police Chief Over 'Strange Activities'

Basant Rath has drawn both praise and flak for his way of functioning.

Jammu and Kashmir:  A senior police officer in Jammu and Kashmir has been warned by the top cop against his "strange activities" while controlling traffic and was told to "refrain from such acts" in the future in a letter. Inspector General of Police, Traffic, Basant Rath, has drawn both praise and flak for his "out-of-the-box" way of functioning since taking charge about a fortnight ago.

But his alleged use of abusive language, damage to properties and moving around in plain clothes as he goes about reprimanding traffic violators and complaints from senior officers have prompted Jammu and Kashmir police chief SP Vaid to write a stern letter to Mr Rath.

"A number of videos, posts and pictures are being circulated on social media in which you are seen moving in civvies on the roads doing strange activities unwarranted of a police officer," the letter read.

Other videos uploaded by some commuters allege manhandling, using of abusive language and damage to their property like cell phones, helmets, spectacles and vehicles, Director General of Police (DGP) Vaid said in the letter on Thursday.

The letter, which was leaked on social media, maintains his acts are not only illegal, they are "unbecoming of a police officer" and also "utter violation" of the motor vehicle act that says no officer shall do any checking of any vehicle without proper uniform.

DGP Vaid has warned Mr Rath that violation of rules would invite action against him.

Basant Rath, a 2000-cadre Indian Police Service (IPS) officer from Odisha, is pretty active on social media. From traffic advisories, "drive responsibly" requests and photographs of cops "violating traffic rules" to retorts, witty one-liners and testimonials of his nonchalance keep his Facebook and Twitter accounts busy through the day.

His love for literature is evident in his posts in which he often refers to Polish poet Maria Wislawa and Saadat Hassan Manto. His cricket analogies are also popular with his followers.

However, several complaints against him refer to his posts, including photographs of helmetless cops, that are being viewed as threatening and indecent.

One of his tweets read, "My Dear Senior who thinks I'm all gas on FaceBook and Twitter and no guts. Please ask your PSOs to drive their bikes without wearing helmets. I'll ruin their day. And yours. I don't think I love you." Another post asks riders to wear a helmet as it is "like a condom''.

When Mr Rath had seized a luxury car of the son of a senior IPS officer and lodged a complaint against him, he had posted on Facebook, "Friends, I got an Audi car (CH01 BK 7900) seized today. The driver was a young friend with whom I used to play lawn tennis when I was young a century ago. His father is a colleague and an IPS officer in J and K. I'm sad. And I'm happy."

Lawyer Nitin Bakshi also filed a complaint against him with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in which he alleged that Mr Rath appears to be inspired by Hindi films like 'Singham' and 'Dabangg' and uses social media sites to "exploit" people who he misbehaves with.

"If he sees any person without helmet or driving without belt, he starts abusing them and starts using violence against them, which is not permissible under the law," Mr Bakshi alleged in his complaint.

Mr Rath is unfazed. "They - He is attention seeking. He - If you like me, please raise your hands. If you don't like me, please raise your game," he announced on Facebook.

Amid a sea of criticism, Mr Rath has, however, managed a pool of admirers as well.

IPS officer Danesh Rana posted on Facebook: "Cyclones often hit Orissa. J&K has been hit by a cyclone called Basant Rath. Cyclones uproot trees. Basant Rath is planting the seeds of traffic management and discipline and fear of law. I have handled traffic as SSP and DIG, but could not bring a revolution. (Doff my hat to Basant Rath. Kudos!) Love you tiger.''

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