The BJP government in Madhya Pradesh transferred two police officers and a bureaucrat since Tuesday evening for an alleged assault on Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) workers in Dhar and Jhabua district.
The action was taken on the basis of a report from two BJP parliamentarians, though a government investigation is yet to be completed.
The move against cops was the second in a month for acting against the workers of the RSS, the BJP’s ideological mentor.
A total of seven policemen and three home guards were charged with attempted murder on September 26 for allegedly thrashing RSS leader Suresh Yadav in police custody in Balaghat. He was detained for an allegedly offensive social media post against parliamentarian Asaduddin Owaisi on September 25.
The “severely injured” RSS pracharak’s medical report showed minor injuries and he was purportedly seen in three video clips walking around in a hospital.
In Dhar district, police detained 14 people, including RSS workers, after a shop owned by a Muslim was burnt down October 12, triggering communal unrest in the region. There was a police crackdown in Jhabua district as well to quell communal tension during Muharram.
The government transferred on Tuesday Petlawad and Manawar sub-divisional police officers Rakesh Vyas and Dheeraj Babbar, who accused of thrashing RSS workers. Gandhwani sub-divisional magistrate Satyendra Singh was shifted to Badwani the day after.
The action follows a report from state BJP president Nandkumar Singh Chauhan, who was apparently acting on recommendations from parliamentarians Sudhir Gupta of Mandsaur and Subhash Thakur of Khargone.
Chauhan’s report to chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan attracted accusations from political rivals that the government was trying to protect arch-Hindu forces and weaken police.
Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi said the action amounted to the government saffronising the police force.
State BJP chief Chauhan couldn’t be contacted for comments, but a senior party leader said: “The state president’s report to the chief minister is a first since the BJP came to power in 2003 and it shows the RSS’s growing influence.”
Police officer Vyas reacted angrily to the so-called disciplinary action against him. In a Facebook post on Wednesday, he asked why police personnel are suspended for doing their duty during riots.
“Kya koi batayega ki har baar police ki bali kyon di jaati hai? Sab jante hain ki danga kaun karate hain (Will someone tell why police are made scapegoats? Everyone knows who are behind the riots),” he wrote.
Unlike in Balaghat, police officers in Dhar and Jhabua didn’t face any FIR. The RSS, however, demanded a case to be registered against the cops.