Deputy chief minister D.K. Shivakumar on Tuesday warned Karnataka police that the Congress government would not stand for saffronisation of the department.
“We will never allow the police department to be saffronised while we are in power,” Shivakumar told the police brass at a meeting, a state government source said.
“Your officials brought shame on the police department by wearing saffron shawls in Mangalore, Bijapur and Bagalkot,” Shivakumar was quoted as saying.
As part of Vijaya Dashami celebrations in 2021, personnel had reported for duty at various police stations wearing saffron clothes.
Policemen had turned up at Bijapur police station in white kurta-pyjamas and saffron shawls; policemen at Kaup in Udupi wore white dhotis and saffron shirts while their women colleagues sported saffron saris.
Siddaramaiah, then leader of the Opposition, had tweeted these pictures and written: “Why did you change only their uniforms @CMofKarnataka? Give them trishul. That way you can realise your dream of a jungle Raj.”
On Tuesday, Shivakumar directed the police department to rid itself of the bribery culture and resurrect the good reputation it once enjoyed. “The people have high expectations of this government,” he said.
Shivakumar told officers not to pay a single paisa to anyone in the government: “We don’t need a single paisa from you, and you must not give anything to anyone. It’s enough if you do your job properly.”
He said the ruling party bore the police no grudge but went on to remind officers how they had booked Congress workers over the party’s “PayCM” anti-corruption campaign against then chief minister Basavaraj Bommai.
After 25 cases were registered against Congress workers, Shivakumar had accused the police of being in cahoots with the then BJP government.
Shivakumar had called the then director-general of police Praveen Sood a “nalayak” (useless person) and warned of action against him once the Congress came to power. Sood was appointed CBI director a day after the Congress won the election.
Shivakumar cited the police’s failure to file a case against the then higher education minister, C.N. Ashwath Narayan, after he urged the people to “finish off” Siddaramaiah.
Narayan was quoted as saying at a party meeting in Mandya in February: “You all know what Uri Gowda and Nanje Gowda did to Tipu Sultan. He (Siddaramaiah) should be finished in the same manner.”
Playwright Addanda Cariappa had created Uri Gowda and Nanje Gowda, two fictitious characters who allegedly killed Tipu, in his controversial play Tipu Nijakanasugalu (Real Dreams of Tipu), which paints an unflattering portrait of the 18th-century ruler of Mysore.
According to historians, Tipu died fighting the British.
Chief minister Siddaramaiah had earlier held a meeting with top police officers.