As thousands of Delhi Police personnel staged a protest on Tuesday, when 12 attempts by the top brass, including the Police Commissioner, to resolve the situation failed, the field officers (ACPs and the inspector ranked officer) were deployed to persuade their subordinates to end the agitation and join duties.
"We were told to trace our subordinates who were protesting and make them understand that with their most demands accepted they must end the protest as it had dealt a blow to the image of the police," an ACP ranked officer told IANS requesting anonymity.
Interestingly, what the top brass could not achieve the whole day, the field officers accomplished in just half an hour. The agitating cops called off their protest and slowly started to proceed to their dues.
"We are from the same department. You must listen to me and not the media or any politician. 'Bade Sahab' has assured me that the Delhi Police would back its personnel. Believe me," an inspector was seen telling a group of 4-5 policemen in civil dresses.
"You can't call it an experiment. It was a calculated step as these field officers are very close to their subordinates. They share good and bad times together," a senior official based at the police headquarters (PHQ) told IANS.
Earlier during the day, the Delhi Police announced a Rs 25,000 ex gratia for each cop injured in the clashes with lawyers at the Tis Hazari court premises on November 2. It was one of the major demands of the policemen.
Addressing the agitating cops at the PHQ, Special Commissioner Satish Golcha said, "We will provide the best treatment and also Rs 25,000 ex gratia to each injured cop." Golcha also said a case had been registered in the Monday's Saket court incident, in which a lawyer was seen assaulting a policeman.
"I request you to end the agitation and join your duties as a disciplined force. I want to assure you on behalf of our Commissioner (Amulya Patnaik)," he said.
Golcha was the fifth officer to request the protesting cops to join their duties. Earlier during the day, when the Delhi Police Commissioner himself tried to convince the agitating cops, he was booed.
The cops also jeered several other top officers as they sought to placate them, including Joint Commissioners of Police Devesh Srivastava and Rajesh Khurana.
The agitating cops alleged that top officers didn't stand by them even as they were thrashed by lawyers. "If you beat a cop in uniform, it's not the person but the uniform that is humiliated. This will only ensure the breakdown of law and order," a protesting officer told the media.
The protest received a boost as the Haryana Police Association, the Bihar Police Association and the Tamil Nadu Police Association extended their support to the Delhi cops.
Even the family members, including children, of several policemen, took part in the agitation at the PHQ. Some of them were sporting black band as a mark of protest.
The agitating cops were demanding a police welfare association to deal with their grievances, revocation of suspension of some officers over Saturday's clashes, moving the Supreme Court against the high court order, no action against protesting police personnel, and dealing with lawyers for misbehaving with the policemen as per the law.
A minor argument between a lawyer and some policemen over parking at the Tis Hazari court complex on Saturday led to violence and arson. A lawyer was left with a bullet injury.
"Twenty policemen, including one Additional DCP and two SHOs, sustained injuries. Eight advocates were also hurt. 12 motorcycles, one police QRT gypsy and eight jail vans were damaged," the police had claimed.
"Whatever is happening to cops should not have happened. It's a fight for justice and dignity", said a woman who identified herself as a family member of a protesting policeman.