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Himachal Police issue gag order for cops seeking pay parity

Hindustan Times logo Hindustan Times 03-12-2021 Gaurav Bisht, Shimla
It has been advised that constables of Himachal Pradesh Police refrain from making any comments on social media. (AFP) © Provided by Hindustan Times It has been advised that constables of Himachal Pradesh Police refrain from making any comments on social media. (AFP)

A day after the chief minister warned of action against the agitating cops running a campaign on social media for pay parity, the Himachal Pradesh police on Friday advised its constabulary against airing their grievances online.

The advisory issued by director general of police (DGP) Sanjay Kundu states: “In the light of the recent developments within the police constabulary, all unit heads are directed to advise the constables under their command to maintain discipline.”

They have been directed to communicate their demands regarding pay scale in the form of a written memorandum to the government of Himachal Pradesh through the Police Headquarters.

Besides, it has been advised that the constables refrain from making any comments on social media, and that they should go about their routine in the normal manner and take meals in the mess. “Ensure strict compliance,” the order stated in the end.

The Twitter handle of the Himachal Pradesh Police also tweeted an advisory, stating that cops must maintain discipline and perform their duties with dedication.

There has been growing anger among the constables of the Himachal Pradesh police over the disparity in their salaries.

Irked over their demands not being heard in the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting, policemen in large numbers had marched to chief minister Jai Ram Thakur’s official residence for a peaceful protest on November 28. The cops have also stopped taking meals in the messes since.

The chief minister had hurriedly convened a meeting with the finance secretary and assured the protesting cops that their demands will be looked into in a meeting with all officials concerned. The meeting has yet to be held.

In the JCC meeting, the chief minister had announced new pay scales for the employees and reduced their contract period from three to two years. The government’s decision to increase the pay scales of employees had led to resentment among policemen.

On Thursday, Thakur, who also holds the home portfolio, had warned to take tough action against cops running a social media campaign regarding their grievances.

Talking to the media on Friday, the chief minister said the police were a disciplined force and had the right to raise their grievances. “Government is looking into their demands. However, to make it a campaign on social media and some people provoking them is not right,” he said.

“So, the DGP has advised them to take meals in the mess and refrain from making comments on social media,” he said, adding that the gathering of policemen at his residence was not a protest.

“It was just that a delegation had to meet me but the number of people who arrived there was quite large. It was just an incident and not a protest,” he said.

Around 5,700 constables are feeling aggrieved by the decision of the government to extend the period of the constables for the grant of 10,300+ 3,200 pay scale from two to eight years. Their repeated pleas to grant the pay scales as per the 2013 policy have gone unheeded.

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