2 weeks ago


File Photo UPRIGHT

File Photo UPRIGHT OFFICER – BASANT RATH, IPS P News (Panorama News) PROFILE of a match. He was a steely cricketer with Hailing from Odisha, Rath says he a killer instinct and arrogance.” comes from an extremely poor background He says he relates to the problems of where his parents and siblings did not have Kashmiris just because he has been enough to eat, but the hardship and nurturing a similar pain and victimhood sacrifice of his mother made him what he since his childhood. “I am aware of the is today. history as well.” “I saw electricity for first time when I was “I still hate looking at my face. The only 11, touched a phone at 19 and started regret I have is that I am short, just 5.6 speaking English at 22. It has been a feet. I will always hold this against God. I consistent struggle,” says the 2000-batch will ask him why he did not give me a IPS officer. good height,” he laments! An alumnus of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Rath has also penned some A fresh spring or 'Basant' is sweeping controversial articles and poems on Jammu off its feet these days. Its breeze Kashmir, for which the intelligence has left many in the corridors of power agencies wanted the government not to numb and others shocked, surprised and post him on important assignments. even angry. Meanwhile, ordinary The IPS officer says he is not a very social commuters allergic to rash driving, road person but is fond of reading and writing. stunts, congestion, red light jumping and His favourite writers are polish poet Maria VIP culture are celebrating. Wislawa and Saadat Hassan Manto, who Basant Rath, the new Inspector General he keeps quoting in his viral tweets. He Traffic of Jammu and Kashmir is maverick adds, he is a great fan of Pakistani cricketer but uncompromising to traffic violations Javeed Miandad. no matter who the violator is. He is a no- “I love him for hitting sixes on the last ball nonsense officer and has set himself on the 10 February 2018

task of reforming traffic in Jammu and members of two senior IPS officers, much Kashmir. to the annoyance of the owners. The matter A few days ago, a police car was caught in escalated with Rath lodging an FIR and the middle of a busy road in Jammu and a later tweeting a photograph of the police senior traffic police officer — much to the complaint saying he has taken action surprise of the officers and bystanders against his “friend” only to silence alike — challaned the police vehicle for opponents by citing cricket analogy. not having a number plate. For calling spade a spade, Rath is often Twelve days old into his new job, Basant described as crazy, arrogant, controversial Rath, has already earned a name for being or even 'Singham' and 'Dabang'. But he Jammu's 'Singham' after the Bollywood says such remarks do not bother him. movie by the same name, thanks to his “I love my job and I do it with passion. I uncompromising attitude towards traffic am not flustered by anyone. I follow the violations, no matter who the violator is. rulebook, I am answerable to the people and have respect for democracy and our Meanwhile, the common man on Srinagar judiciary,” he says. roads, who are allergic to rash driving, Twelve days into his new assignment as road stunts, congestion, red light jumping the traffic in-charge, Rath is often seen and VIP culture are jubilant. However, his directing traffic on the Jammu streets by “out of the box” ways often earn him both himself. bouquets and brickbats — more of the But it is his significant Twitter activity in latter because he is a strict disciplinarian past few weeks that has made him both that annoys people who are on the wrong popular and controversial. His witty one side of law. liners and thought provoking tweets – Videos and photographs of Rath managing some where he jokes on his baldness – traffic at busy junctions in the winter generate lot of response. Interestingly, he capital have become a hit on the tweets from a handle @kangricarrier, Internet. which means one who carries a Kashmiri Unbridled corruption and traffic mess in indigenous fire pot wrapped in a wicker both the cities and Jammu-Srinagar willow frame. highway particularly, prompted Jammu and His appeals to commuters are also full of Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti puns and warnings. He pricks the to bring in an officer who has new ideas, is politicians and higher-ups with a regular tough and upright. The search stopped at ease. Rath even though top officers warned “My Dear Senior who thinks I'm all gas on Mufti of his “antics and aggression”. FaceBook and Twitter and no guts. Please Rath, many agree, fits the bill of managing ask your PSOs to drive their bikes without traffic in the state but it is his unstoppable wearing helmets. I'll ruin their day. And “bold and witty” outbursts on social media yours. I don't think I love you (sic)”: read that is rubbing the powerful on the wrong one of Rath's tweets. side. In another tweet he says, “I give them only Congress legislator Usman Majeed two options either to buy good quality recently called him “mad and a fit case for helmet or pray for my transfer by psychiatric treatment'' when Rath tomorrow”. compared condoms to helmets in order to urge commuters to use both for “protection”. On the first day of his new posting, Rath seized an Audi car from the family 11 February 2018

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