Flamboyant Cop Basant Rath Leaves Police to Join Politics

by Tahir Bhat

SRINAGAR: Not willing to give up his style of functioning, a 2000 cadre Indian Police Officer (IPS)  of the rank of Inspector General of police, Basant Rath has opted for voluntary retirement from services. In a letter dated June 25 with timing 4:20 Am addressed to Chief Secretary, Rath has offered his resignation citing reason to join electoral politics.

Born in 1972 in a village in coastal Odisha, Rath studied Sociology at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Courting Controversies

Not new to controversies, Rath all along has his unique workstyle,  giving little consideration to the laid down norms.

Interestingly on June 25, 2020, Rath, a senior officer of the police had written a letter addressed to the Gandi Nagar police station in Jammu in which he had expressed apprehension about his safety due to “certain activities” of the department in which he was working at senior level. “I’m writing to you to take note of my genuine apprehensions about my safety and reputation. I am doing it as a private citizen of the country. In my personal capacity. Not as a civil servant. Not as a policeman,” he wrote.

The complaint he made was in the backdrop of nasty social media row with his boss, Director General of Police, Dilbagh Singh, a 1987 batch IPS officer.

Subsequently after two weeks of lodging complaint,  Rath was suspended by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for “repeated instances of gross misconduct and misbehaviour”.

Friday: Basant Rath’s one day trip to Srinagar | Kashmir Life

Known for being blunt, in 2018, he had a verbal spat with incumbent mayor Junaid Azim Matto. As sources reveal, the fight became the reason for his shifting from the traffic department to the office of the commandant general, Home Guards Jammu.

However, soon after his suspension, “westandwithBasantRath” started trending on Twitter

Goodwill Gesture

In Kashmir, Rath during his posting courted significant goodwill, particularly among the youth. He was possibly the only senior officer moving alone on the streets of Srinagar without security detail.

Managing traffic in his own style wearing the signature black dress, he won a lot of admirers in both Srinagar and Jammu for streamline the traffic. While on duty, he had no criteria for names or families, He once towed away an Audi car belonging to a top police officer’s kin as the vehicle had been parked in a no-parking zone.

I belong to J&K till my retirement, no discussion, no discount: Basant Rath | Kashmir Life

Known for his philanthropic acts, he helped to set up libraries in Srinagar and regularly distributed books to needy students.

Famous among the locals, in one instance, Rath was seen accompanying a baraat in Soura area of Srinagar in late hours. He was seen enjoying the function alongwith youth. The dress however remained the same, black.

A Virtual Battle Led To Basant Rath’s Suspension By MHA | Kashmir Life

Having huge followers, he engages with people through his Twitter @Kangricarrier. Kangri is a Kashmiri firepot which keeps people warm in harsh winters.

Seen as a different character, filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt had tweeted in 2020 that someday he wishes to make a film on the life of “enigmatic poet”, a police officer Basant Rath. Bhatt had posted a picture of Rath in civvies sitting with a child.

Poetic Management | Kashmir Life

Most of Rath’s tweets are about Allama Iqbal’s poetry and he often refers to Polish poet Maria Wislawa. Owing to his love for Srinagar, Rath’s first poetry collection is titled “own me Srinagar”.

The Announcement

As Rath has submitted his resignation, he has revealed his future plans as well. Going by his Tweet, he intends to join BJP, and contest the election from Kashmir, and that too before March 6, 2024.

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