Journalist | Nandigram, now Birbhum: An IPS officer at the end of Mamata Banerjee’s wrath

“This happened entirely because of your negligence… The government lost face because of your mistake…” Banerjee told Tripathi during an administrative review meeting, referring to the murder of nine people in the village of Bogtui in Rampurhat on March 21. following the murder of a local Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader. Had the region’s SP MP been proactive, the retaliatory killings could have been avoided, the CM added.

This isn’t the first time Tripathi has been in the spotlight due to an interaction with Banerjee. In the Assembly elections last year, the Electoral Commission (EC) assigned him to oversee the elections in Nandigram which the TMC chairman contested against incumbent opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari of the BJP.

On polling day, the IPS officer was seen repeatedly pleading with Banerjee to leave a polling booth where she alleged rigging had taken place. Tripathi tried to reassure the CM that he would protect the dignity of his uniform by acting neutral. Banerjee was held for more than two hours inside the stand as TMC and BJP supporters nearly came to blows. Her security guards formed a cordon as she waited in a wheelchair. She only moved after a large contingent of central forces and police personnel reached the site. Banerjee lost the election to Adhikari, a former confidant, by a narrow margin of 1,956 votes.

“CM Mamata Banerjee sent a strong message through his recent statement,” said a TMC leader who did not wish to be named. “It clearly shows how tough she is when it comes to dealing with crime. The BJP, which only uses central agencies for political purposes, must learn from this. is above the law in Bengal.

Hitting back at the ruling party and the CM, former BJP chairman and MP for Medinipur, Dilip Ghosh, said The Indian Express, “It’s his old practice. Whenever something untoward happens, she shirks all responsibility and looks for scapegoats. She wanted to send a message that the administration is tough on everyone and Mamata Banerjee is never at fault so she can keep her image intact.

At least eight houses were burnt down in Birbhum. (Express photo by Partha Paul)

Senior BJP official Rahul Sinha said “the politicization of the police” was the reason why the names of officers were dragged into all types of cases. “When Mamata Banerjee saw that the delay in action in Bogtui was affecting her grassroots voting base, she took notice. Following this incident, the TMC lost in two areas of Ballygunge which have the most minority voters. That’s why Mamata vents her frustration on the police. Instead of making such statements, she should give the police carte blanche. I firmly believe that our police force is capable of preventing all crimes.

Retired IPS officer, Pankaj Dutta, former Inspector General of West Bengal Police, said the actions of an IPS officer should be looked into, but not at the cost of undermining the moral. “The CM is right, if an IPS fails to do their duty they will be scanned but I repeat you can scan, dissect, review and analyze their actions and conduct but not at the cost of damaging the morale of anyone in the presence of so many of his subordinates. By the time this is done on a live broadcast, the matter is not a private matter. When IAS and IPS officers are openly reprimanded, their morale may suffer. take a hit. It does not bring the desired result. The officer examined by the CM sits with many other officers who are below his rank and this can never be a morale booster for any administration. ultimately an officer is a family man and he is belittled when he returns home.

He added: “I was the SP for two districts and worked for administrations for the last three and a half decades. I believe that the Constitution and the law have given IPS officers the power to be their own bosses. Everything they are supposed to do is according to the law of the land. If one is working according to the law of the land, then where is the scope of being wrong? »

EC’s praise for Tripathi

An IPS officer in 2009, Tripathi was appointed Deputy Commissioner of Police (II) in the State Detective Department ahead of the 2016 Assembly elections. Under this leadership, the police made pre-emptive arrests, took action against suspected miscreants, made arrests and seized weapons and crude bombs in Kolkata ahead of the elections. The officer received praise from the Electoral Commission (EC). On April 21, 2016, he came to media attention for allegedly slapping the owner of an iconic candy store for keeping the establishment open during voting.

After the TMC government began its second term, five IPS officers, including him, were sent on mandatory standby. He was later reinstated and served as commander of the 10th Armed State Police Battalion. In 2018, he was appointed Deputy Commissioner (Traffic) at Siliguri Police Station. He played an important role in improving the city’s traffic system. In the same year, he was promoted and transferred to Dakshin Dinajpur district as an SP.
Last year, the senior IPS officer received the National Election Best Practice Award for 2021-22 from the EC.

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