From dance parties and theme cakes to showering of petals and cryptic social media posts, the transfer of senior Punjab Police officers and subsequent farewells given to them by colleagues have of late taken the form of all-out celebrations – ostensibly with a message.
The farewell party for Ludhiana police commissioner Mandeep Singh Sidhu, organised at the GO mess Wednesday night, was a lavish affair with the officer in the forefront and gazetted senior officers in attendance, dancing their hearts out and even forming a human train to the Punjabi number “Parey ho jaa sohniye, saadi rail gaddi aayi (Dear beloved, get aside, our train in arriving).” The cake-cutting ceremony, also attended by the new Commissioner of Police Kuldeep Singh Chahal, had a theme cake with the Punjab Police logo and Sidhu’s favourite line: “Sab fade jaange (Everyone will be caught)”.
Going all out while “thanking the people of Ludhiana”, Sidhu – who has been posted as DIG (Administration) at the police headquarters in Chandigarh – shared videos of the party on his Facebook page along with what appeared to be a cryptic message.
In the post, Sidhu wrote: “Agli tainaati layi boriya bistra ban rahe haan… oh ki sochde honge atey oh ki kehenge, eh ohna da kaam hai.. par assi taan khuli kitaan vang haan.. khul ke nachde haan, khul ke bolde haan.. par dilon bolde haan… lakh raajey beh turr gaye, othe di othe hai dilli.. jagg junction railan da, gaddi ikk aave, ikk jaave.. (I am packing my bags for my new posting. What they think or say, it is their job. We are like an open book. We dance openly, we speak openly but we speak from the heart. Many kings came and went, but Delhi is where it was. The world is a junction of trains, one will come, and another will go).
The outgoing officer posted the message along with the hashtags “Sab fade jaange” and “Sab fade gaye”, implying that all major crimes in Ludhiana were solved under his leadership. In another veiled attack, he said that it was not easy to get him transferred, and even if he was transferred out, he would return to the same district, sooner or later.
Speaking to the media, Sidhu said: “It was an extremely satisfying tenure in Ludhiana… We have given a loud and clear message to criminals that they will be caught sooner or later. In the past 35 years of my service, wherever I have been posted, people have tried to get me transferred within the first month. Mainu badlaun vaaleyan de tyre ghas jaande hai (Those who try to get me transferred, they run from pillar to post)… Now I am leaving Ludhiana after a successful tenure of a year. Whenever I am transferred, some people try to take credit that they got me transferred using their powers, chaka ta naa (we got him transferred) but I return. Everyone knows this in other stations and… welcome me with bouquets.”
Moga Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) J Elanchezhian, now posted as Assistant Inspector General (AIG) Counter-Intelligence, was also given a flowery farewell Wednesday as his subordinates showered petals on him and decorated his vehicle. During his tenure in Moga, several major crimes were reported in the district, including broad daylight targeted killings of a Congress sarpanch, a jailed gangster’s father and a jeweller. However, all the cases were solved eventually.
In September, IPS officer Gurmeet Singh Chauhan was shunted out as Tarn Taran SSP after Manjinder Singh Lalpura, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA from Khadoor Sahib, accused him of registering a false sand mining case against his relative. During his farewell too, fellow officers had accorded a warm farewell and showered flowers on Chauhan.
Speaking to The Indian Express, a former Punjab Police DGP said farewells for police officers ideally have to be close-knit, low-key private affairs and should not be publicised. “The respect and stature of an officer is not measured by show-offs and social media videos. Police farewells should not be a glitzy affair. A transfer just means joining a new place of posting,” he said.
“Decades ago, when I was transferred as an SP from one district to another, many junior officers gave long speeches in my honour but when I asked how many were interested in joining a tougher assignment with me, only one hand was raised. The farewells also depend on the popularity of the officer within the force,” the former DGP added.
Another retired IPS officer said: “In our times, there was no social media, so farewells were a private affair. In fact, many senior officers would even refuse to take one. But now the senior officers themselves are posting such stuff on social media platforms for popularity. There is no harm in having a get-together, but without glamourising it.”