Kashmir

‘No transfer’ clarifies Basant Rath after social media rife with rumors

INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE, TRAFFIC BASANT RATH

Srinagar: The internet was set ablaze by Kashmiri netizens with praises of Inspector General of Police (IGP) Traffic, Basant Rath after rumors of his transfer circulated around social media on Monday.

Several social media news pages, personal accounts and Whatsapp groups had posted the rumor that Rath, well-famed for his accessibility had been removed from the post.

Few celebrated the news, but many social media users of the Valley expressed sadness over his removal, calling him an ‘honest officer’ of the police force.

Rath is mostly known for his interactions with the younger generation in the Valley, leading many locals expressing overwhelming support.

He is also famous for seizing a police vehicle for plying without a registration number plate at Jammu city’s Bikram Chowk and ordering a Minister’s driver to wear a uniform while driving him to work from home and back.

Many Kashmiris have called him ‘our own Singham’, in reference to popular movie character of the same name played by Ajay Devgan in the movie that garnered 150 crores in the box office.

However, Rath has also been known to get into verbal arguments with government officials, including politicians. A most recent case would be his argument with newly elected Srinagar Mayor, Junaid Azim Mattu over the administrative powers of traffic control, which has currently been increasing despite the secretariat’s Darbar move.

After Mattu had wrote a Twitter post that he had acted on numerous complaints of traffic mess in the city by reviewing traffic plans, Rath had replied that it wasn’t the mayor’s domain.

“Not your domain. Traffic diversion at Jehangir Chowk is a compulsion. The vendors have created a mess on Amira Kadal-HSHS-Maharaja Bazaz-LD Hospital stretch. SMC needs to clear the mess,” Rath wrote as a response.

Upon rumors being mounted of his transfer, Rath clarified later to news website The Kashmir Walla that no such order had been issued.

Kashmir News Service (KNS) reported that a top government official on conditions of anonymity disclosed: “I am not privy to any such move and we have not seen any such proposal being moved from any quarter within the government.”

However, in wake of the rumors, Former Director General of Police Shesh Paul Vaid took to Twitter to express hope that it ‘was just a rumor’.

Independent Lawmaker Engineer Rashid also expressed support to Rath. Rashid wrote that Rath had been “victimized for being honest, secular and dedicated.”

Journalist Majid Hyderi criticized the JK government for supposedly removing Rath. “By transferring Basanth Rath for arguing with Neta, JK Govt not only belittled institution of IPS but behaved like cabbage,(Sic),” Hyderi posted on his Facebook, referring to Rath’s recent post on Mattu.

Many social media users expressed their disdain at the supposed decision.

(with inputs from KNS)

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