Lucknow : In an incident that only helps to strengthen stereotypes about the state’s police, three policemen were suspended for dereliction of duty for inordinate delay in recovery of buffaloes stolen from the farmhouse of Uttar Pradesh minister Mohd Azam Khan.
The seven animals were stolen on Friday night after unknown thieves cut open the chains holding the gate of the farmhouse located on the outskirts of Rampur city. The theft was noticed early Saturday morning and within minutes police teams were rushed in different directions to trace the animals which, it was feared, could have been taken to slaughterhouses.
District Superintendent of Police Sadhna Goswami, said to be a dedicated officer, was personally on the job, monitoring the investigation across the district. And, on Sunday, the animals were found from three different locations. Although it is not clear how they reached there but the police were relieved only after the cattle keeper identified the animals as being the stolen ones.
According to details of the investigation, the policemen managed to notice and track the hoof prints that led them out of the property though a small passage that was apparently made after removing a stack of bricks. The prints ended near a field behind the property and then police sniffers dogs were pressed into service. They also went up to a distance then stopped. The police also rounded up more than 100 known cattle thieves of the region and questioned them, besides raiding a number of slaughterhouses in the district.
However, the sustained search by dozens of policemen in open fields and other open areas yielded result and the animals were found in three different places, one of which was nearly 20 km away from the farmhouse.
Three policemen were on Monday sent to the Police Lines for dereliction of duty, even as Azam Khan appeared to blame the media for the “unnecessary hype” over the incident. The punishment to the policemen was justified by minister for tourism Om Prakash Singh who said the government was well within its power to decide what action was to be taken against state policemen.
Incidentally, neither a report has been lodged in this connection against anyone, nor any arrest made. It is understood that the thieves let go of the animals when they realized they belonged to the powerful minister.
Azam Khan, who is an outspoken minister in the Akhilesh Yadav ministry and is known for his temper, language and tantrums. Often regarded as the Samajwadi Party government’s most well-known Muslim face, the party leadership is always at pains to see that he is not annoyed over any issue.
However, the state BJP took a dig at the speed of the police action, flaying the police alacrity in the matter. “The police never show such speed in case of murders, atrocities on women, kidnapping and other crimes,” BJP spokesman Siddharth Nath Singh said
Ratan Mani Lal