24 November, 2020

Scared Of The High And Mighty, Odisha Police Is Always At His Master's Service

Naveen Patnaik didn't start it but the politicisation of the police has gone to absurd lengths under the Odisha chief minister

Photograph by Biswa Ranjan
Scared Of The High And Mighty, Odisha Police Is Always At His Master's Service

Bikers in Bhubaneswar dread going out without a helmet these days. The reason: steep fines. But when hundreds of BJD youth workers rode through one of the city’s main thoroughfares in a ‘bike rally’ on the ruling party’s foundation day on December 26, 2019, the police just stood by. Forty of them eventually paid the fine of Rs 1, 000 each, well over a week later when taunts by the Twitterati with pictures of the rally left the police commissionerate embarrassed. In sharp contrast, when Youth Congress workers threw eggs on CM Naveen Patnaik’s cavalcade in 2015, the eggs didn’t hit the CM’s car, but the police slapped a host of stringent charges, including Section 307 (attempt to murder), on the workers, making it difficult for them to secure bail for nearly a month.

In September 2018, the Naveen dispensation pounced on a motivated media report to lodge a case against BJP leader Jay Panda (then a BJD leader who had fallen out with Naveen) and seize his helicopter for flying “dangerously close” to the Chilika lake, an...



To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

More from Sandeep Sahu

Latest Magazine

November 30, 2020

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section