Ex-UP DGP O P Singh in memoir

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NEW DELHI: The Lucknow ‘state guest house incident’ of 1995 in which BSP supremo Mayawati was alleged to have been encircled by Samajwadi Party supporters during a power tussle between the two alliance partners made former Uttar Pradesh DGP O P Singh a “pariah” and a “villain” for this episode, recalls the officer.

The 1983-batch Indian Police Service officer has come out with his memoir “Crime, Grime & Gumption: Case files of an IPS officer” and dedicates a long chapter to this infamous and controversial episode.

Singh, who hails from Gaya in Bihar, retired from service in January 2020 and headed two central forces –the CISF and the NDRF– during his 37 years of service in the police, a fairly long career for an IPS officer.

Calling the ‘guest house’ incident an “indecorous” political drama in the history of modern-day India under a chapter titled “Tsunami Years”, he says this event “not only changed the politics in UP but impacted the politics of the country as a whole”.

Singh gives a blow-by-blow account of the events that took place on June 2, 1995, the day he took charge as SSP (Lucknow).

He recounts it was around 2 pm when he got a call from the Director General of Police (DGP) about some “disturbance by unlawful elements” at the guest house located on Meera Bai Marg.

He along with the district magistrate and other officials reached the spot at 5:20 pm.

Mayawati, who was staying in suite number 1 and 2, was meeting her MLAs at the guesthouse amid the buzz that the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had withdrawn support from the Mulayam Singh Yadav-led government, Singh writes.

“The situation was quite precarious for the power supply was down and the telephone lines were dead. There was complete chaos,” he says.

“Make sure suites one and two are doubly secure”, he directed the officials and a sudden commotion erupted with a BSP MLA literally being carried away in the grip of arms.

Soon, the police resorted to baton charge and Singh states that he remained at the guest house till things were normal.

The officer says “stories and rumours” about the developments at the guest house “ran wild” including the entry of an LPG cylinder in the premises.

Mayawati expressed desire to have tea and after the estate officer informed that there was no cooking gas in the kitchen, a cylinder was arranged from the neighbourhood, he writes.

“The sight of the cylinder as it was being rolled towards the kitchen area, and the grating noise caused by it, sparked a rumour that there was an attempt to set Mayawati on fire. This was but another addition to the shock and misery that awaited me,” he goes on to say.

Mayawati, Singh says, wrote a letter the same day to the governor alleging that SP members gathered at the guest house attacked and took away some of the BSP workers “right under the nose of the police and district administration officials present”.

“As a police officer, I was again caught in the crossfire of the insidious kind between two political parties, playing their power,” Singh writes, adding that the governor dismissed the Mulayam Singh government that very night and Mayawati was sworn in as the new chief.

Singh was suspended by the new government, a lay dater, on June 4, 1995.

“Why me? There were four of us (at the guest house). Three besides me, the DM, the ADM (City) and the SP (City) and only I was suspended. It was obvious that I had been chosen to be suspended,” he says.

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