Mumbai Police's morale low post-Aug 11 riot: New Commissioner



Mumbai: New Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh on Thursday appeared to be critical of his predecessor Arup Patnaik's handling of the Azad maidan violence which cost him his job, observing the morale of the force is "down" since the incident.

MNS boss Raj Thackeray, who was in the forefront in seeking the ouster of Patnaik, wanted even Home Minister R R Patil of NCP to go since he was "ignorant" about his department while Opposition BJP said Maharashtra government had insulted the public sentiments by transferring him with a promotion.

Having shown the door to Patnaik in the aftermath of the violence here on August 11 by way of a promotion Patil on his part does not think a similar fate awaits him. Two persons were killed in the violence.

Observing that Mumbai Police is going through a "crisis time" post-August 11 violence, Singh said he will initiate measures to restore the morale of the 40,000-strong force.

"I am honoured and conscious of the heavy responsibility this post carries. Mumbai Police is facing a difficult time, and during this crisis time, the Government appointed me the Commissioner and I am grateful for this," he said after taking charge of his new assignment.

"After the (Aug 11) incident, public confidence in police machinery has shaken. The morale of the city police is down. I will try to revive confidence through various measures," the 1980-batch IPS officer said.

"A question mark has been put on the force. May be it (Azad Maidan rioting) could have been handled well, that is what people are thinking..," said Singh, who has held the post of Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) in Mumbai, considered one of the most difficult assignments in police circles.

When asked whether his statements indicated the riot situation was not handled well by Patnaik, he replied, "I am talking about perception. That is what the perception of the media and public. We are here for people and if the people are not happy, it means somewhere we are not up to the mark."

Raj Thackeray said he did not consider Patnaik's transfer as his victory as he had no personal enmity with the police officer.

"Now the minister (Patil), who is ignorant of his portfolio, should step down," Thackeray said at a press conference in Pune.

PTI