Locals and activists took to the streets here to protest the award of the President’s Police Medal to the city’s former Deputy Inspector General of Police Prem Prakash, accused of shielding the rapist of an 11-year-old girl last year.
‘DIG Prem Prakash was squarely responsible for shielding the owners of Gyansthali School, where Divya was raped and sodomised following which she died the same evening on September 27 last year,’ the victim’s mother Sonu Singh told mediapersons here Wednesday.
‘It was this very officer who beat up protestors who gathered on the streets to raise their voice against the horrors inflicted on my daughter, it was he who was responsible for false implication of an innocent boy who had to remain behind bars for 89 days’, she said.
The girl was allegedly raped by the son of the school manager.
‘I am shocked that a lady chief minister like Mayawati has rewarded this officer who was responsible for the physical abuse, torture and death of an innocent minor girl,’ she added.
The officer figured in the list of awardees whose names were announced on the Republic Day Wednesday, following a recommendation of the Uttar Pradesh government.
‘He (Prakash) doesn’t deserve any medal. He himself is under scanner for showing laxity in supervising the investigations of the case,’ one of the protestors, Neeraj Mishra, told reporters in Kanpur, some 80 km from Lucknow.
Shouting anti-government slogans, protestors burnt the effigy of Prakash.
What irked the demonstrators even more was that the state government did not care to withdraw its recommendation even after the state police’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) found his conduct doubtful in the case.
Even the state’s Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh had said at a press conference Jan 13 in Lucknow that ‘the CID found the then Kanpur DIG Prem Prakash guilty of dereliction of duty’, and addeed that a separate probe had been instituted into his role by Additional Director General of Police (law and order) Brij Lal. The probe was to be completed in 15 days.
‘Awarding the President’s Police Medal to Prem Prakash amounts to showing disrespect to the Republic Day. It is a matter of great shame,’ said Gyanesh Misra, a leader of the Kanpur Traders Association who led the demonstrations here.
Prem Prakash had even gone to the extent of raiding the local editorial office of the Hindustan Times that had spearheaded the expose of the Divya case, protestors said.
Prakash is now the DIG of Jhansi.