Bengaluru: The day-long strike by police personnel in Karnataka on Saturday flopped, with most of them reporting for duty after withdrawing their leave applications.
“I am grateful to the constabulary for positively responding to my appeal and reporting for duty at almost all police stations across the state,” a relieved Home Minister G. Parameshwara told reporters here later.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah also thanked the police force for not going on mass protest leave and maintaining discipline.
As the day progressed, there was no sign of protest by the police force and near full attendance was reported at all police stations across the state.
In a last-minute bid to quell the strike, Parameshwara sent an SMS in Kannada on Friday night to every policeman and policewoman, warning them of stern action if they went on strike and assured them of looking into their demands.
“Police in Karnataka are a disciplined force. I appreciate them for heeding to my appeal and not getting carried away by outsiders who want to disrupt normal life. I also assured them to address their grievances,” he said.
The Karnataka state police association has called upon its 60,000 members, comprising mostly constabulary and orderlies, to go on mass strike on Saturday to protest against “exploitation by senior officers, over work, under pay and inhuman working conditions”.
The state government on Wednesday banned the proposed strike and invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (Esma) to maintain public order and safety across the state.
Police also arrested on Thursday Akhila Karnataka Police Maha Sangha president V. Sashidhar here and a local court remanded him to a 14-day judicial custody till June 16.
As a precautionary measure and to maintain law and order, 13 battalions of the Central Reserve Police Force and Reserve Police Force and 11,000 home guards were deployed in cities and districts across the state since 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
To prevent any untoward incident and maintain order, senior police officers were present in their jurisdictional police stations since morning and ensured normal functioning in them.
“Our police functioning are normal. All officers and constabulary are on duty. There was no protest anywhere,” said Director General of Police Om Prakash.
Admitting that the constabulary had genuine demands, Parameshwara said the government would increase their wages for parity with their counterparts in other states and fill up as many posts to reduce their workload.
Protest demonstrations by social organizations in support of the police force were reported in a few cities and towns like Belagavi, Gadag and Kalaburgi in the northern region.
Earlier in the day, police took Poornima, wife of police association president Shashidhar, into preventive custody when she tried to stage a protest along with social activists in Bengaluru.
According to the association, of the sanctioned strength of 94,478 posts in the civil police department, 29,569 posts were vacant across the state, while 3,738 of the 12,575 posts in the armed reserve police department were also vacant.