Notwithstanding a warning by the state's Director General of Police (DGP) OP Singh against sporting black bands in solidarity with the two police constables arrested over the killing of Apple executive Vivek Tiwari, hundreds of policemen and women across Uttar Pradesh protested on Friday, Octover 5, leaving the state government red-faced.
The protests were result of an orchestrated social media campaign launched by policemen in support of Prashant Tiwari, the police constable arrested for killing the Apple's Area Sales Manager in Lucknow last week, and his accomplice Sandeep Kumar, both of whom are now in jail.
Based on the directives of the DGP, two police constables were arrested from Allahabad for their call to hold a meeting on Saturday, October 6, to chalk out the future strategy for support to the two police constables involved in the Apple executive's murder.
At many police stations in Lucknow, including Aliganj, Naka Hindola and Gudamba, the men-in-khakhi were seen sporting black bands. They also openly posted their pictures of protest in social media sites like Facebook and twitter.
A police organisation of constables had on Thursday, October 4, called for this black band protest after which two policemen -- Avinash Pathak and Vijendra Yadav -- were suspended and arrested for indiscipline.
By late night, the DGP cracked the whip and transferred Inspector in-charge of Aliganj Police Station in Lucknow Ajay Yadav, Station House Officer (SHO) of Naka Parushram Singh and SHO Gudamba Dharmesh Shahi. Three police constables -- Sumit Kumar, Jitendra Kumar Verma and Gaurav Chowdhary, who partook in the protests have also been suspended with immediate effect, an official said.
Rattled by the development, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath spoke to Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar and DGP Singh.
Sources said data was being collected on other policemen and women who took part in the protests and by late night, action could be initiated against many other police personnel.
The protesting policemen are saying that the constables were being framed in the killing of the Apple executive while they were only discharging their duties.
In expression of solidarity, policemen from across the state have deposited more than Rs 5 lakh to bear the legal expenses for Prashant Chowdhary, in the bank account of his wife, also in the UP Police.