Amulya Patnaik, the Commissioner of Police, Delhi since 30 January 2017, is set to retire by end of this month. Patnaik, who was appointed for the top job at Delhi Police in January 2017, was appointed for a three-year term, but his tenure was extended for a month in “public interest”, perhaps due to Delhi elections.
The three-year tenure of Patnaik was marred with turbulent events throughout of the city, with failure of Delhi Police in almost each of them. His own personnel protested against him during the attack on Police officials by the lawyers of Delhi court. Under his leadership, the violent protests at JNU and Jamia turned violent and students, citizens, as well as the police officials were injured.
The protestors in Shaheen Bagh blocked a highway for more than three months and Delhi police have not been able to vacate the road. And now, the latest failure of Patnaik came in the very last week of his tenure, in the form of Delhi riots, in which more than 30 people were killed and 200 injured.
The city has been constantly on the boil since Patnaik took over, and he failed to curb a single incident, without massive loss or delay.
The Delhi riots, which seem very much organized on both sides, were a massive intelligence failure of Delhi police, in such sensitive times, when the Islamist groups like PFI are active throughout the country.
After the protest of Police officials against their own Commissioner, a senior Police official from Delhi Police said, “Never has the Delhi police had a commissioner against whom thousands of police personnel have protested. Last year after the violent clashes between lawyers and cops at the Tis Hazari courts, nearly the entire police force of Delhi, barring the seniormost officers, were up in arms against Patnaik’s lack of leadership. He didn’t even bother to speak up for his own men, how do you expect him to speak up for students who have irked the ruling party.”
Patnaik, a 1984 batch IPS officer, was chosen by the government for his ability to perform under pressure; however, he failed disastrously, in all such situations.
Under Patnaik’s tenure, armed personals entered in JNU and thrashed the students, but, Delhi Police is yet to convict a single person in the case. At Jamia Milia Islamia University too, the role of the police, and its inability to control the situation came under scanner. When the lawyers beat the officials of Delhi Police, the senior management of the Police chose to not convict miscreant lawyers, and Delhi Police officials came out on road to protest against their chief.
Under the leadership of Patnaik, the Police officials chose not to act at all in most of the cases, as they did not have orders from senior management. The Delhi Police officials have alleged that his “unwillingness to engage with his officers” and inability to “listen to personnel who went to him with any grievance” are primary reasons behind his disastrous tenure.
As per NCRB report, the crime in Delhi, especially against women and minors, has increased in Patnaik’s three year tenure. As per former Delhi Police Commissioner, Neeraj Kumar, the top job at Delhi Police is tough task, “Because Delhi is the capital of India where the attention of the media and people is the most, not just in India, but internationally… It is also the largest police force of the country, with more than 85,000 officers.”
However, this does not weaken the case that the tenure of Patnaik is one of the worst under any Delhi Police Commissioner, and under his watch, the image of Delhi Police has been maligned in public light.