Welcome to your arrest!

When angry party workers and protestors disrupt life, destroy public property and block our roads, who do we expect to rush to our rescue, arrest the miscreants and shield us from harm and inconvenience? Certainly not cops, if you go by the curious conduct of a cop at a rasta roko in Kopri, yesterday. Putting his official duties on the backburner, this policeman, overcome by awe and admiration for Thane’s RPI(A) president, welcomed him, shook his hand, engulfed him in a bear hug and escorted him reverentially to his designated spot of disruption.

11:50 am

Eastern Express Highway, near Mulund octroi naka

RPI(A) Thane district president Rambhau Tayade arrives for a rasta roko to press for his party’s demand to hand over the 12.5-acre Indu Mills land in Dadar for Dr B R  Ambedkar’s memorial. Traffic cop Arun Ghag welcomes him warmly.

They embrace like old friends, flashing grins.

11:55 am

After five minutes of slogan-shouting by the RPI(A) workers, Ghag remembers his duties and arrests Tayade and other party workers. pics/ Sameer Markande

Adding to the bewilderment of onlookers, the same cop was seen arresting the leader, after allowing him to carry on his protest for seven minutes.
The policeman has been identified as police inspector Arun Ghag, and the object of his reverence is RPI(A) leader Rambhau Tayade, the Thane district president for the party.

The curious incident transpired yesterday afternoon, in course of the protest launched by the RPI(A) in demand for Indu mills. Tayade and his band of loyal men were scheduled to wage a rasta roko at Kopri in Thane. Cops had fallen in position, waiting for the sloganeering to begin. Tayade’s car reached the spot at 11.50 am. It was one of your nondescript, everyday political protests. The scene took an unexpected turn, however, as soon as Tayade reached the spot — Ghag rushed towards his car — welcomed him, shook hands with the leader, hugged him warmly and escorted him to his seat.

Confused cop: Police officials arrested RPI(A) leader Rambhau Tayade under Section 68 of the Bombay Police Act. The spirit of bonhomie between Tayade and inspector Arun Ghag was evident even during the arrest. pics/sameer Markande

Asked about the rationale for his unexpected antics, Ghag offered his explanation, saying, “I came to know that Tayade is an elected representative, a corporator, and hence greeted him for that. My intention was not to welcome him. I even asked him to carry out the protest in a democratic manner. Minutes after he sat down for the protest, we detained Tayade and other party men. They were later released with a warning.”

The arrest was made under Section 68 of the Bombay Police Act, under which persons are bound to conform to the reasonable directions of the police. K P Raghuvanshi, the Thane Police commissioner, said, “I cannot comment as I haven’t seen into it yet. I will be able to comment on it later.” Tayade couldn’t be contacted for comment.

MiD DAY contacted retired IPS officer and advocate Y P Singh, to get a heads up on what the rulebooks say about such conduct. He said, “Rule 3 of the Maharashtra Civil Services Conduct Act clearly states that this is an act unbecoming of a govt servant. How can someone who’s supposed to stop the person from committing an unlawful act embrace him and welcome him?” Singh added that the police officer is liable for a departmental enquiry for his conduct, and that the seniors should enquire into the matter. 

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