Warning of stringent action against indiscipline, the Karnataka government banned the state police force from striking work on June 4 and invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (Esma) to maintain public order and safety across the state.
The Karnataka state police association has, however, decided to go on with its strike by taking leave en masse on this Saturday to protest exploitation of about 60,000 constabulary by senior officers, over work, under pay and poor working conditions.
Declaring police service as essential, the state government prohibited the police personnel from taking mass leave or abstaining from work and threatened to act against them under the Esma provisions.
“Maintenance of public order and protection of property, besides crime detection was an essential duty of police,” the government order said after Home Minister G. Parameshawara appealed to the association to withdraw its strike call.
Asserting that indiscipline by the police force would not be tolerated, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told reporters that the as strike was called by a non-recognised organisation, the government would act against violators under Esma provisions.
“The strike call is given by a suspended policeman (V. Shashidhar), who claims to be founder-president of their association (Akhila Karnataka Police Maha Sangha). The government is willing to address all grievances of the police personnel,” he said.
The chief minister reviewed the situation at a meeting with home ministry officials and top police officers, including Director General of Police Om Prakash here.
“I have faith in the police force, and I am sure they will not be provoked. If they have any grievances and lawful demands, it should be discussed and resolved amicably. A protest by the police will be considered seriously and legal action initiated against them,” Siddaramaiah reiterated.
Highlighting the problems faced by policemen, especially constables, Shashidar alleged that they were made to work for long and irregular hours, with no proper leave and were harassed by their seniors.