No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Surat Cop Sunita Yadav’s Transfer Shouldn’t Surprise Us

Social Commentary

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Surat Cop Sunita Yadav’s Transfer Shouldn’t Surprise Us

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

Sunita Yadav, a constable in Surat resigned from her post after action was initiated against her for allegedly stopping a minister’s son and his friends from roaming at night, violating lockdown guidelines. The resignation hasn’t been accepted yet, as procedures are being followed. An inquiry has been ordered into the incident, a senior Surat city police official said.

The group of friends included Prakash Kanani, the son of Gujarat minister of state for health and family welfare, Kishor Kanani.

The video of cop Sunita Yadav confronting the group has gone viral and is being circulated on social media. “Who gave you the permission to go out at night after 9 pm? Did your father give you permission? Call him right now! Are we stupid to be patrolling the streets at midnight? Does your father know you’re loitering around at night? Call him now, and tell him I’m roaming outside after 10 pm!”

Sunita Yadav then has a conversation on loudspeaker with the minister and fearlessly challenges him. “Isn’t the lockdown applicable to him? He is roaming around with the MLA nameplate on the vehicle even though you are not present. Just because he’s your son, does he have the right to roam around with your MLA plate?” The minister is heard giving condescending answers like, “Don’t teach me the law” and “Please go ahead, arrest him and carry out the procedures” as if almost threatening the cop with action if she goes ahead.

Sunita Yadav ends the call with an apt message, reminding the minister that they should be the first ones to follow protocols like wearing a mask and social distancing, and that elected representatives must set an example.

Yadav then called her superior who tried to sweep the matter under the rug and asked her to leave the spot. This apparently frustrated the upright officer. She was transferred to the police headquarters, following which she resigned.

Support poured in from all quarters for “sherni” Sunita Yadav. Ex-IPS DG Vanzara said he supported Sunita Yadav and appreciated her courage and commitment. “Violators of Law must be booked whosoever they may be,” he said.

Social media users were shocked to learn of her resignation. Swara Bhaskar asked the IPS Association to defend this brave and upright constable. “She does the khaake she wears proud!” Swara tweeted.

There is unanimous agreement that she should be re-inducted and awarded for her bravery.

People also tagged Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, asking him to intervene and look into the issue. One user referenced the famous incident where Kiran Bedi had towed the PM’s car and how it was celebrated by the entire nation. Rules apply equally to everyone and constable Sunita Yadav was just doing her job.

In India, we have a habit of punishing officers who do their job with honesty and integrity. Anyone who questions the powers that be, is either suspended or transferred. IAS officer Ashok Khemka has been transferred over 50 times within 28 years of service. As a system, when it comes to being sincere, we punish instead of reward. One hopes that doesn’t turn out to be Sunita Yadav’s fate.