The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Police threat to boycott bypoll

Ranchi, Feb. 19: Constables and head constables of Jharkhand have threatened to go on a five-day mass casual leave from February to protest the government’s alleged apathy towards their demands.

They have also threatened to boycott the Poriyahat Assembly bypoll scheduled for February 26.

The call was given by the Jharkhand Policemen’s Association after their crucial central committee meeting today which was attended by representatives of different district bodies of the union.

Members of the association also staged a demonstration at the state police headquarters, raising slogans against the government and the top police brass.

Agar hum nahin to sarkar bhi nahin (If we are not there, the government also won’t be there),” association president Ramchandra Pandey said at the meeting.

He warned that if the government still remained unmoved after the mass casual leave call, the association “would be compelled to resort to a violent agitation”.

Senior police officers preferred to remain non-committal on the mass casual leave call but said that the government was looking into the demands of their association.

They were, however, concerned about the boycott call given by the union since it would be difficult for the authorities to manage the polling booths with officers alone.

“The state government and senior police officers do not care about the subordinate officials like constables who are the lowest paid and the most hardworking among all the uniformed men. Everytime we called for an agitation, we withdraw it keeping in view the larger interest of the society. But the agitation this time will be a decisive one,” Pandey said.

The association members took to the streets this afternoon, shouting slogans against the director general of police, chief minister Babulal Marandi and the state government. They called upon officials of the department of other ranks to support their strike call “in principle”.

Some of the prominent demands of the association include assured career progress, pay on a par with other states for those constables deployed with the fire brigade and uniform allowance for those posted with the vigilance department.

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