The Madhya Pradesh Police has been on the receiving end of sharp criticism after photographs of its newly-recruited constables sporting markings of 'SC', 'ST', 'OBC' on their chests went viral, with Congress president Rahul Gandhi terming the incident "an attack on the country's Constitution".
"The racist attitude of the BJP government has stabbed the country in its chest. By writing SC/ST on the chest of the youth of Madhya Pradesh, it has attacked the country's Constitution. This is how the BJP/RSS thinks. It's this thinking, which used to force Dalits to carry a pot around their neck, tie a broom around their waist and didn't allow them inside temples. We will defeat this thinking," he tweeted.
The incident had occurred during a medical examination, which was conducted at the local district hospital in Dhar, which is 60 kilometres from Indore, News18 had reported. According to sources, the officers resorted to this method to segregate recruits and ensure they were given the benefit of relaxation in selection norms.
Union Minister Ramdas Athawale also reacted strongly to the incident saying, "Such an incident is an insult to SC/ST. I'll write to the Madhya Pradesh chief minister over the incident. Appropriate action should be taken against officials responsible for it."
The Congress attacked the ruling BJP in the state over the incident and demanded an apology from Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. An NDTV report quoted Manak Agarwal, Congress spokesperson, as saying, "It is a serious issue. It seems that the Madhya Pradesh government is against SC/ST people and they don't like Dalits and minorities. I want the chief minister to apologise to them."
Defending the incident, state BJP spokesperson Rahul Kothari said the exercise was carried out with the consent of the applicants. "In the physical exam of any police force, ST/SC applicants are given relaxation in their height and chest measurements; therefore, the administration wrote ST/SC on their chests to differentiate between them and general category applicants," Kothari was quoted as saying in the report.
Earlier, Birendra Kumar Singh, Superintendent of Police, Dhar, had admitted that the recruits were marked, but denied that the officers were authorised to conduct the medical exam in this way, Financial Express had reported. He added that a probe had been ordered, according to the report.
Speaking with Hindustan Times, Director General of Police (DGP) Rishi Kumar Shukla, while taking cognisance of the matter, had clarified that there were no "bad intentions" behind the move. Shukla said the step was taken as a precautionary measure to ensure that there was transparency in the norms for physical measurements of these categories, according to the report.
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Updated Date: Apr 30, 2018 17:04:29 IST