Bengal IPS Officers Rally Against Religious and Caste Slurs

Bengal IPS Officers Rally Against Religious and Caste Slurs

In response to the recent controversy surrounding a turban-clad police officer allegedly labeled as “Khalistani” by a political leader, an outcry against religious and caste-based remarks has emerged within the IPS community in West Bengal.

IPS officer Mercy John, recounting her own experiences, revealed the distressing nature of such comments, stating, “I faced [the] same every-time encountered them during law and order… used to get religious remark.” She expressed solidarity with the officer targeted, emphasizing the need to halt such discriminatory behavior.

In a recent interview with The Indian Express, Mercy revealed the personal impact of enduring derogatory remarks during her tenure. Despite facing discrimination, she maintained her dedication to duty.

Mercy recounted instances of being labeled an “outsider” and enduring caste-based slurs during her three and a half years as a deputy commissioner of police under the Bidhannagar police commissionerate. She cited incidents during law and order situations, including protests such as TET demonstrations.

Describing the hurtful encounters, Mercy stated, “It hurts when people read your name plate and say such things,” referencing comments like, “‘Aapni Christian apni ki janben?… Don’t teach us, being an outsider…”

Commending the firm response of Jaspreet Singh, she emphasized the importance of addressing such behavior, asserting, “It is good that someone like Jaspreet Singh reacted to it so firmly.”

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Recalling a specific incident in the Bidhannagar area, Mercy highlighted the use of her religious identity to marginalize her presence during a law and order situation.

Following Mercy’s statements, senior IPS officers expressed concern over the incident, emphasizing the need for legal action. One officer, speaking anonymously, underscored the applicability of laws such as the SC/ST Act and IPC 295A to penalize casteist and communally colored statements.

Another officer emphasized the necessity of stern action to send a message against such behavior, labeling it a criminal act.

The incident has sparked discussions regarding the boundaries of political activity and the importance of upholding principles of caste and religious neutrality within law enforcement agencies.

Echoing these sentiments, other IPS officials condemned the incident, emphasizing the importance of upholding constitutional values. One senior officer highlighted the legal ramifications, citing provisions in the SC/ST Act and IPC Section 295A aimed at penalizing casteist and communally colored statements.

Jaspreet Singh, the officer at the center of the controversy, garnered support for his firm response, with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee denouncing the attempt to tarnish the reputation of Sikh individuals. Singh’s assertion that questioning his religion based on his attire was unjust garnered widespread acclaim.

ADG & IGP (South Bengal) Supratim Sarkar affirmed that legal action would be pursued over the derogatory remark, emphasizing the need to address such attacks on personal and professional integrity.

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In solidarity, a senior IPS officer from the Kolkata police stressed the importance of preventing such verbal assaults, affirming the right of officers to carry out their duties without facing religious or caste-based abuse.

As the incident sparks debate and calls for action, the IPS fraternity stands united against bigotry, advocating for a work environment free from discrimination and prejudice.