Photographs of a police officer in uniform kneeling down at the feet of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, on the occasion of Guru Purnima at the Gorakhnath temple here, went viral on social media.
Adityanath is also 'Peethadishwar' and 'Mahant' (head priest) of the Gorakhnath Math.
The photographs of the police officer, Pravin Singh, kneeling down at Adtiyanath's feet with folded hands, went viral on the social media, forcing him to clarify his stand.
"I was deployed at the temple for security duty and I went there after completing my work with full dedication, when most of the disciples were seeking blessings. Out of my devotion and after removing my belt, cap and other accessories and covering my head with a handkerchief, I took blessings of Peethadishwar Mahant Yogi Adityanath," Singh said.
"My shirt was wet with sweat and I had not ignored my work. Mahant Yogi sits in the position of a guru on two occasions in the temple - one at the time of Dussehra and other on Guru Purnima. I always pray at the temple for serving the country honestly and with dedication. It was just out of my devotion towards Baba Gorakhnath and nothing else," he explained.
Singh is posted as Circle Officer, Gorakhnath in Gorakhpur.
IG, Civil Defence, Amitabh Thakur (IPS) said the police manual is not very clear on this count.
"This is a grey area and can be interpreted either way. But, a police officer needs to uphold the dignity of his uniform," Thakur pointed out.