Oppn slams ‘bias’ against locals in police force

The alleged discrimination against the "sons of the soil in the Maharashtra police force" was strongly voiced by Opposition leaders in the Assembly on Thursday during a debate on law and order situation in state.

Leader of the Opposition Eknath Khadse launched a scathing attack against Home Minister R R Patil for "failing to restore law and order in the state" and protecting the rights of "bhoomiputras". He demanded: "The Maharashtra State Recruitment Board should be accorded more significance to facilitate higher percentage of representation of local talents in the force."

The sentiments of locals getting a "raw deal" in the Maharashtra Police was discussed in the backdrop of a court order against Pradeep Suryavanshi and 12 other police officials convicted in a fake encounter case (2006) against Lakhan Bhiayya, who is associated with underworld don Chotta Rajan.

Khadse said: "Successive governments have made the state recruitment board redundant. There are 101 IPS posts lying vacant. There is a requirement of 55,000 police personnel. Why doesn't the government make the recruitments and give opportunity to the locals in the police force."

Stating that the underworld is "calling the shots", Khadse said: "Congress MLA Baba Siddique received a threat call from underworld don Chotta Shakeel. The underworld calls an MLA repeatedly and police remain a silent spectator"

On the issues of crime against women, missing children and robberies, he said: "Nobody feels assured... How does one explain 992 cases of rape in Maharashtra? The statistics of money /assets lost due to crime is accounted at Rs 14,454 crore. The number of missing children is 6,345."

Khadse presented a long list of cases of corruption in police stations across Maharashtra and said "even the anti-corruption bureau takes hafta".

Admonishing Patil, he said: "What is the use of your remaining a non-corrupt minister?"

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