It may have turned some people green with envy, and others red with anger or embarrassment, but Jalandhar police hoped to park themselves in the good books of the boss through the move. A renovated park in the Jalandhar Police Lines was rechristened as ‘Sh Suresh Arora Park’, after the Punjab director general of police (DGP), though the name was changed hours after HT reported it online on Tuesday.
The park, which was beautified with the help of local industrial house Ambika Overseas, was inaugurated by Jalandhar police commissioner Arpit Shukla on Monday. Apart from the inauguration stone, the gates had a board atop them with the DGP’s name in capital letters. Sources said it was Shukla’s idea, “prompted by the DGP himself”. DGP Arora was not available for comment.
Shukla had said he found nothing wrong in naming the park after the DGP: “There are buildings named after army generals and former DGPs too,” he had told HT. He even claimed that it was the wish of other officers and families living in the locality to pay “special thanks” to the DGP. It was arguably the first instance wherein a serving DGP has been given such an honour.
However, after HT reported it around noon on Tuesday on its website www.punjab.ht, Shukla received a dressing down from the headquarters in Chandigarh. The DGP’s office by the evening ordered removal of the nameplate and the board. Additional DGP (administration) Dinkar Gupta termed the episode unfortunate and said the commissioner should not have done this as the “DGP does not believe in any sort of self-propagation”.
Shukla, a winner of the President’s Police Medal, had reasoned, “The development of Police Lines was ordered by DGP sir, when he had visited this place a few months back. He has been our inspiration and guide in developing this site.”
The orders from the headquarters to his office later said the naming was done “without seeking any sanction or permission from the DGP himself or from the Punjab Police headquarters”.
It is worth a mention here that policing in Jalandhar has been found wanting over the past year, as was particularly evident in the murder of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) leader Brig Jagdish Gagneja (retd) last August. Soon after the attack, a local BJP MLA said he had to call the DGP to inform the police about the incident as none of the local officers picked up the phone.
Criticism over the naming was swift. “It’s unbelievable to see a park named after a serving DGP. Generally, such monuments are dedicated to martyrs. Even political leaders don’t do such acts to please their bosses,” said a retired inspector general of police (IGP) settled in Jalandhar.
After the headquarters intervened, it was renamed as Martyrs’ Park.