The death of traffic policeman Vilas Shinde has prompted the state government to take action on the issue. On Wednesday, it declared a committee that will suggest remedies to the problems being faced by police personnel in their daily lives.
For the first time, the committee will include a person representing the families of police personnel. A senior police officer, senior government officer and a public representative will be among the other members of the committee, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said.
Ruling ally Shiv Sena, however, was unimpressed with the decision. Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray demanded an independent home minister, after questioning the CM’s ability to handle the ‘sensitive state home department’. Fadnavis, however, chose to remain silent on the remarks.
Uddhav said, “Fadnavis is a nice person, but he is heavily burdened with work. Thus, I strongly feel Maharashtra needs a full-time home minister.”
The comment is being seen as a barb towards the chief minister, who has been trying to mend ties with its ally Sena in recent days.
Uddhav was speaking after meeting with Fadnavis. He had called on the CM at his official residence, Varsha, demanding a permanent solution to the problems faced by police personnel in the state. He was accompanied by the wives of several police personnel, who expressed their difficulties before the CM.
The joint meeting was arranged following the death of a traffic police constable, who was stabbed by two youths while on duty in Mumbai last week.
Uddhav didn’t stop here. “In recent days, attacks on the police force have increased. If the police is not secure in our society then we need to think about where we are heading,” the Sena chief said.
He said every police personnel should be protected and stern action should be taken against those found guilty for attacking them. “They must feel that this government is ours,” Thackeray said.
Keeping aside all the differences, Fadnavis has made two calculated attempts to build a rapport with Thackeray in the past two months. On July 17, he drove down to Matoshree — Thackeray’s residence — and had dinner with him. On Uddhav’s 56th birthday, he used the Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamna’ to extend his greetings publicly.
Avoiding a reaction to Uddhav’s latest barbs, however, Fadnavis said he promised to consider all the demands of the delegation. “The state is working on a plan to increase interaction between the police and public. We are also working on a skill development programme for police wives as well as health facilities for policemen. An announcement will be made very soon,” Fadnavis tweeted.
Meanwhile, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, leader of Opposition in the assembly, lashed out at the CM, terming him incompetent to deal with the home department. Referring to the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) 2015 report, Vikhe Patil said the crime rate and attack on policemen rose in the state drastically. “CM is doing overtime as home minister resulting in ‘Crime in Maharashtra’ initiative instead of ‘Make in Maharashtra’” he said, slamming Fadnavis. Vikhe Patil also demanded a white paper on the law-and-order situation and performance of the state home department.