Last week, constable Pramod Tawde invited attention and controversy when he presented MNS chief Raj Thackeray with a rose at a rally at Azad Maidan. But it may be his subsequent comments to the media that may invite a reprimand.
A highly placed source in the Mumbai police told HT on Tuesday that action against Tawde appeared imminent. “Tawde invited action not by offering a flower to Thackeray, but by blurting out his grievances before the media, which is not the right forum for a member of a uniformed force like the police,” the source said.
The source added that though service rules prohibit a policeman in uniform from participating in a political process, “merely offering of a flower to a political leader should not be interpreted as participating in a political process”. However, a constable, or anyone in the department, is not allowed to speak directly to the media without proper authorisation.
In this case, Tawde aired his misgivings with the force, which is seen as the department’s internal matter. “If Tawde is not made accountable for his indiscipline, it will send a wrong message. The department can salvage its image only by initiating disciplinary action,” the source added.
Tawde not only offered a yellow rose to Raj Thackeray, but also saluted him on the dais. Later, he complained to the media against “injustice” meted out to him. The Mumbai police administration subsequently instituted an ACP-level inquiry into Tawde’s conduct.