J&K Traffic Chief Basant Rath Shunted Out After Twitter Spat With New Srinagar Mayor
Rath, one of the most prominent cops in Srinagar, has been posted in the office of commandant General, Home Guards, a relatively nondescript posting, considered to be dormant department.
Inspector General of Police (Traffic) Basant Rath (right) during a traffic inspection Jammu. (PTI file photo)
Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir traffic chief Basant Rath was handed his transfer orders on Tuesday days after he had a spat with new Srinagar mayor Junaid Matoo on Twitter.
Rath, one of the most prominent cops in Srinagar, has been posted in the office of commandant General, Home Guards, a relatively nondescript posting, considered to be dormant department. Alok Puri will take his place as the new Inspector General of traffic for Jammu and Kashmir.
Rath, whose unorthodox ways to discipline traffic had won him mostly accolades but some criticism, got huge support from social media users, with many saying his spar with Mattoo had led to his ouster from the traffic department.
According to sources, the proposal to shift Rath was sent to Raj Bhawan on Monday night and he was shunted out on Tuesday.
Neither Rath nor Matoo were available for comment.
Matoo and Rath had a Twitter spat a few days ago after the former sought to “manage and discipline” traffic in Srinagar city only to be confronted by Rath, who said the mayor had no jurisdiction on traffic.
Mattoo had tweeted that he had spoken to the SP traffic (Urban) and sought a review of current traffic diversions and plans. He also wrote that the Srinagar Municipal Corporation has been directed to help with decongestion of alternative routes for some relief.
The tweets had elicited an almost immediate response from Rath, who responded to Mattoo that traffic was “not your domain”. “Traffic diversion was at Jehangir Chowk is a compulsion. The vendors have created a mess … SMC needs to clear the mess (sic),” he tweeted.
Not your domain. Traffic diversion at Jehangir Chowk is a compulsion. The vendors have created a mess on Amira Kadal - HSHS - Maharaja Bazar - LD Hospital stretch. SMC needs to clear the mess.— Basant (@KangriCarrier) November 9, 2018
“He should desist from taking me on. I have a better fan following than him. My constituency is bigger than him,’’ he had told News18, suggesting only a few hundred people cast votes for him in the recent municipal polls.
Mattoo had won the election as a nominee of Sajjad Lone-led People’s Conference after he left the National Conference over its decision to boycott the civic polls. Mattoo had bagged 40 votes against 26 polled in favour of his Congress rival Ghulam Rasool Hajam.
Rath had earlier also likened the mayor to a “cabbage” and Mattoo had said the officer was unwell.
Rath’s antics of taking on the big and mighty and not shying at making a sarcastic comment or two had endeared him among Kashmiris, especially young boys and girls.
In the initial weeks of his joining as state traffic chief, he penalised some “influential” people for violating traffic norms. Often he would lead drives to clear encroachment on roads and streets.
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