Uttar Pradesh New police chief Sulkhan Singh on Saturday vowed to take action against “anyone indulging in vigilantism in the name of gau raksha” and said he has the backing of chief minister Yogi Adityanath to crack down on lawbreakers.
Singh took charge as the director general of police (DGP) on Saturday, a day after the Adityanath government transferred former police chief Javeed Ahmed and posted him as director general of the Provincial Armed Constabulary.
Singh’s appointment came in the backdrop of mounting criticism of the force’s alleged moral policing in the name of cracking down on people accused of stalking women. There were also allegations of police laxity in tackling growing incidence of vigilantism by self-styled cow protectors.
“Action will be taken on anyone indulging in vigilantism in the name of gau raksha or anything else, no one has the right to intervene,” Singh, a 1980 batch IPS officer, told reporters.
“The police will get a free hand in controlling crime and maintaining law and order with firmness and tact.”
Singh said his priority would be ensuring unbiased policing.
“Those indulging in gundagardi and criminal activities will be dealt without mercy. Even VIPs will not be spared,” said Singh.
Singh said he has Adityanath’s instructions to act against all those who disobey law, “whosoever they might be”, apparently a reference to criticism that police were going slow on members of the ruling BJP and affiliated groups, who are accused of harassing couples they accuse of indecent behaviour.
Yogi Adityanath had formed the so-called anti-Romeo squads to tackle growing crime against women.
“The personnel on duty for anti-Romeo squads will act and take action only on people with objectionable behavior,’ he said.
Singh said he will try to ensure that police isn’t overburdened but added that “corrupt cops will face the music”.
Singh is likely to have a brief stint as the state police head as he is set to retire in September.
Before the recent assembly polls, the BJP had petitioned the Election Commission to remove Javeed Ahmed, alleging that he was working at the behest of the then Samajwadi Party government.