- Praveen Kumar Singh is circle officer of Gorakhnath area
- Officer's Facebook check-in accompanied a "feeling blessed" status
- Photographs show him kneeling in front of chief minister
A police officer in eastern Uttar Pradesh's Gorakhpur town was photographed seeking blessings from Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, also the head priest of the influential Gorakhnath temple in the town, yesterday - in uniform.
A series of photographs on Facebook, shared by police officer Praveen Kumar Singh himself, shows him kneeling down in front of the Chief Minister with folded hands.In another photograph, the officer can be seen applying a tilak on Adityanath's forehead. A third photograph shows the police officer garlanding the Chief Minister.
Praveen Kumar Singh is the circle officer of Gorakhnath area in Gorakhpur and has several police stations in the vicinity under his charge. In his Facebook post, the police officer said he was seeking the blessings of Yogi Adityanath, 46, on the occasion of Guru Purnima, not in the chief minister's capacity but as the head of the Gorakhnath temple.
The officer's Facebook check-in and photos were accompanied by a "feeling blessed" status and emoticon. He later deleted the post.
But the officer's act has triggered a debate on social media, with many asking if he should have done this in uniform.
Other reactions on Facebook and Twitter include those who say there is nothing wrong with this, pointing out that other police officers from different faiths also undertake religious activities while in uniform and that the officer could not have changed clothes just for a five-minute interaction with Yogi Adityanath.
I don't think it should be anyone's concern, until unless he is biased in his duty, we are in a country where each government program start by lighting a lamp in Hindu rituals and so forth... what's big deal?!- Mubashir (@rubusmubu) July 27, 2018
Praveen Kumar Singh said he went to seek Yogi Adityanath's blessings after completing his work. "Out of my devotion and after removing my belt, cap and other accessories and covering my head with a handkerchief, I took blessings of Peethadishwar Mahant Yogi Adityanath," news agency PTI quoted Praveen Kumar Singh as saying.
"My shirt was wet with sweat and I had not ignored my work. Mahant Yogi sits in the position of a guru on two occasions in the temple - one at the time of Dussehra and other on Guru Purnima. I always pray at the temple for serving the country honestly and with dedication. It was just out of my devotion towards Baba Gorakhnath and nothing else," he said.
"This is a grey area and can be interpreted either way. But, a police officer needs to uphold the dignity of his uniform," said Amitabh Thakur, Inspector General (Civil Defence).
Earlier this week, a Delhi Police officer seen taking the "blessings" of a self-styled godwoman was transferred to an insignificant post. In the photo, the officer is in his uniform, his eyes shut as the saffron-robed Namita Acharya, who calls herself a sadhvi, is seen standing behind him in a gesture of blessing. The photo appears to have been taken in his office.
(With inputs from PTI)