Basant Rath registers himself as ‘BJP activist’ online, party says no place for indiscipline

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Days after the central government ordered his premature retirement, former IPS officer Basant Rath on Thursday registered himself as a BJP activist online and sought blessings of people for what he called an “uphill trek called politics”.

The IGP-rank officer, who was under suspension for the past over three years for “repeated instances of gross misconduct and misbehavior”, was given premature retirement by the government through a notification dated August 7. It was reported in the media on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Rath shared on social media a screenshot of a welcome note from the BJP for his joining the party online.

Reacting to Rath joining the party, the BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir chief spokesperson Sunil Sethi said, “Anyone can join as a member of the BJP using an online facility. It is the party leadership which finally takes a call whether the individual is inducted or given any responsibility in the party.”

He, however, added, “In BJP, there is no place for indiscipline. He (Rath) has been given premature retirement because of indiscipline.”

Rath had announced his resignation from service in June last year and later expressed his wish to contest election against Omar Abdullah of the National Conference or Mehbooba Mufti of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on a BJP ticket.

In a three-page “Thank You Note” shared on Thursday on X, formerly known as Twitter, he said, “Today, I find myself on the precipice of a new endeavour, one that seeks to carry forward the torch of public service onto a bigger platform, and I humbly implore your earnest blessings as I embark upon this uphill trek called politics.”

He said that each month of his 23 years in the Indian Police Service (IPS) has been guided and embellished by the unwavering presence and affection of the people.

“My mad heart is filled with gratitude, admiration, and an overwhelming sense of purpose. The journey we have traversed together, bound by an unbreakable bond of love, belongingness, and compassion, has been nothing short of remarkable,” he said.

“…the road to meaningful and effective public service is laden with complexities, challenges, and myriad choices,” he said, adding he had asked for termination from the police service because “I know I deserve better”.

In July 2020, Rath was suspended from service with immediate effect by the central government for “repeated instances of gross misconduct and misbehavior”.

The action against the officer came a fortnight after he lodged a complaint with police against Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police Dilbagh Singh citing “apprehensions about my life, liberty and bald head”.

A notification, dated August 7, said the President requires Rath, a 2000-batch IPS officer of Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre, to “retire in public interest with immediate effect….”

In an office memorandum, the Ministry of Home Affairs said the central government, after careful consideration of the proposal of the UT division and the performance of Rath, has come to the conclusion that the officer is “not fit to be retained in service in public interest” and decided to retire him prematurely from service with immediate effect. (PTI)

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