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Lady cop’s poem of protest raises dust

Mumbai, Jan. 14: A lady cop has sent the Mumbai police force running for cover — all because she stretched her poetic licence a bit too far.

Her poem, with communal undertones, has come out in Mumbai police’s departmental magazine, Samwaad, triggering a backlash from activists and minority leaders who met chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, home minister R.R. Patil and commissioner Satyapal Singh today.

They sought an FIR against the poet — a traffic inspector — and action against joint commissioner (administration) Hemant Nagrale, the magazine’s editor and publisher.

Chavan and Patil have hauled up the police top brass for the slip that led to the publication of the poem in the magazine’s November edition.

Inspector Sujata Patil defended her poetic outpouring as a mark of protest. “I wrote the poem, Azad Maidan, to mark my protest against rioters who molested my fellow policewomen and desecrated the city’s Amar Jawan Jyoti last August. I do not think it was communal,” the 46-year-old said on Saturday.

Nagrale today said Patil had tendered an unconditional apology.

In August last year, a 20,000-strong crowd had gathered at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan for a rally organised by the Ulema board’s Maulana Athar and Islamic scholar and secretary of the Mumbai-based Raza Academy, Saeed Noori, to protest attacks on Muslims in Assam and Myanmar.

The crowd soon turned violent and attacked journalists and police personnel, allegedly molested two women cops and damaged public property and vehicles.

The 700-strong police contingent, heavily outnumbered, could neither control the crowd, nor defend their women personnel. Two persons died and 63 were injured in the violence.

The mob had also vandalised the Amar Jawan Jyoti, a memorial to two soldiers — a Muslim and a Hindu — martyred during India’s first war of independence.

Drill havaldar Sayyed Hussein and sepoy Mangal Cadiya were tied to a cannon together and blown off in a public execution by officers of the East India Company on October 15, 1857, at Azad Maidan’s European Cricket Club. It was Diwali that day.

A Mumbai police spokesman said Patil and Nagrale would issue an unconditional apology in the next edition of Samwaad.