Basant Rath Finally Attached To Home Guard

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SRINAGAR: Governor’s administration has finally shifted Basant Rath, IGP Traffic. His services have been attached.

Basant Kumar Rath Inspector General of Jammu and Kashmir Traffic Police, addressing press Conference in Srinagar on Tuesday 20 March 2018 Kl Image by Bilal Bahadur

According to government order No. 1552 Home of 2018 Alok Kumar IPS (JK1997), IGP security J&K is transferred and posted as IGP traffic J&K vice Basant Rath.

Basant Kumar Rath, IPS (JK 2000) IGP Traffic J&K is transferred and attached in the office of Commandant General Home Guards Civil Defence/SDRF till further orders.

Monday night, the rumoured transfer of state’s Traffic Police Chief Basant Rath lit a fire on the social media. Those who came against the possible order included the former police chief S P Vaid. Hundreds of people on the virtual world expressed their anger and frustration.

Less than 24 hours later, Basant was finally transferred and attached to the Commandant General of the Home Guards.

“Social media agog with rumours of transfer of Basant Rath@KangriCarrier IGP Traffic; I hope it is not true,” Vaid wrote on his Twitter Monday night. “He my follow unorthodox ways, but his honesty and dynamism is appreciable & commendable.”

Vaid’s tweet came in defence of Basant and indicated the tensions within the system. He was personally given marching orders and asked to hand over the charge to his junior.

Reports about Basant’s attachment on Monday took over Kashmir’s cyberspace with storm later in the afternoon. One report said he was attached and another report said he was shifted to Home Guards.

One police had told Kashmir Life that the file has actually been moved and sent to the Raj Bhawan. But there has not been any confirmation and there has not been any order issued, so far.

But the reported transfer has set the social media on fire. People have started investigating the factors that led to the transfer of the officer who is seen as honest professional and unorthodox. Most of the commentaries suggest that he paid for being quite provocative with the newly elected Mayor of Srinagar.

“Wetlands are precious and a vital part of our ecosystem,” Basant wrote within hours after Mayor’s statement about wetlands in his maiden press conference. “Only a cabbage will think otherwise.”

A day later when Mayor said he received numerous complaints about traffic mismanagement issues in the city, Basant reacted saying: “Not your domain…” Then came his another tweet: “Land grabbers don’t make good policymakers. With or without a Facebook account.”

There are some people who have insisted that the IGP rank officer being the public servant can be deployed anywhere.

Basant Rath has been one of the most known faces of the Jammu and Kashmir police on social media. A huge population of his followers and fans are following his actions, single-liners and his formal writings on Facebook and Twitter. He is the only officer of his status who moves like an ordinary person, sometimes on a bicycle and even on foot. He was seen moving on the roads in Sopore and sipping tea, a rare picture involving such a senior officer. He uses his actions and social media as part of his outreach and has successfully managed in putting his point across. From day one, he has remained a media darling even though he dislikes it.

Unlike Jammu, Basant’s interventions did not trigger a major change in Kashmir – possibly because of the non-availability of road space and political will. But he did every possible effort to improve the situation. Regardless of his success and failure, Basant is perhaps the only IPS officer of his rank who is speaking to a larger number of people on daily basis, through social media and physically.

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