Three days after the state government suspended 11 station house officers (SHOs) for not doing enough to enforce the liquor ban in Bihar, the simmering discontent in the police appears to be snowballing.
Backed by some 200 SHOs of different police stations, the Bihar Police Association (BPA) on Monday issued an ultimatum to the police headquarters to withdraw the suspension, or face a long agitation.
“If the suspension is not revoked by August 28, around 21,000 police officers, from assistant sub-inspector (ASIs) to inspector rank, will go on one-week mass leave,” said BPA general secretary Mritunjay Kumar Singh.
Singh, who met Bihar DGP P K Thakur in the afternoon, said the latter had advised that the 11 SHOs should give application through their SPs concerned for revocation of their suspension and the police headquarters would look into the matter.
Singh said that over 200 SHOs had already communicated to their SPs that they would not like to continue on the post. “In a week’s time around 8,500 other officers will follow suit, owing to undue pressure,” he added.
Singh said recovery of over 1.5-lakh litres of liquor within four months could not have been possible without active policing by the force. “No excise official has been suspended, though it is their job. Police have to deal with law and order, crime, investigation and more,” he added.
The BPA has said the suspension of SHOs will demoralise the police force that has been working hard to implement the liquor ban in the state. The association has called a meeting on August 28 in which all district presidents and others will be present to decide the future course of action.
Sources in police headquarters admitted that SHOs of districts along the Indo-Nepal and Bihar-Jharkhand and Bihar-UP borders have requested their respective SPs to re-assign them from their SHO duties.
Meanwhile, several women’s organisations that were the real strength behind chief minister Nitish Kumar’s decision to bring in prohibition, have opposed the new provisions of the law.
“Women’s organisations fought a long battle for prohibition, but the new law has several shortcomings. If these are not rectified we will start a movement. Women will be victimised for an offence they are not a party to,” said Sushila Sahay, president of Bihar Women’s Network at a press conference on Monday.
(With inputs from Bhabua)