Discontentment is rife within the ranks of police officials in Kerala’s Kochi following an alleged incident of high-handedness by the city Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Aishwarya Dongre IPS. The incident involves Aishwarya sending a constable who didn’t recognise her, on traffic duty as a punitive measure.
A woman police constable who was posted on sentry duty at the women’s police station near the Town North station had apparently failed to recognise Aishwarya who was in plainclothes as she was making her way into the station. The young IPS officer who had taken charge in Kochi only on January 1 was visiting the station as part of her inspection drive on Sunday. Reports state that Aishwarya parked her official vehicle a little away from the station and was stopped by the woman at the police station entry point and asked about the purpose of her visit. For failing to recognise her, the woman on sentry duty was sent to a two-day punishment duty in the traffic department.
Aishwarya told the media that the woman on duty at the police station entry was found to be lacking adequate alertness on the occasion of a senior police officer visiting the police station. “She was on sentry duty. She is supposed to be most alert. But despite the official vehicle I came in, she failed to recognise me and stopped me,” Aishwarya told the media.
However, the Kerala Police Association has not taken the matter the same way and opined that this was too harsh a decision. They said given that Aishwarya was new to her role and had a mask on, it was difficult for the constable to identify her. Moreover, there are protocols that say that the number of people entering a police station has to be limited. The association has suggested that the constable could have been let off with a warning.
Aishwarya was made the new DCP of Kochi only on January 1. She was earlier the Assistant Commissioner of Shangumugham in Thiruvananthapuram.
NV Nishad, Ernakulam District Secretary of the Kerala Police Association, told TNM, "Usually it's the rule that a junior officer should identify their senior officials even if they are in mufti. But since currently it is a COVID-19 situation, the senior officer was wearing a mask. Sometimes we don't recognise even the people we meet daily. This officer had joined just a week ago and the civil police officer did not recognise her. Due to COVID-19, all are not allowed to visit police stations. That is why she blocked the senior officer.”
He added, “It wasn't right to give the civil police officer any punishment. The senior officer could have considered the situation too as she was wearing a mask. On Wednesday, the intelligence department gave a report to the government on this. We will also meet the DCP and the Commissioner tomorrow and express our dissent in the issue.”