Why Was Senior Odisha Cop Debasis Panigrahi Cremated Without Guard Of Honour?

Cuttack: Eyebrows were raised when Additional Director General (ADG) and Vigilance Director Debasis Panigrahi, who succumbed to COVID-19 at a Kolkata hospital, was cremated in Cuttack on June 19 without the customary guard of honour.

Explaining the reason, secretary of Odisha IPS Officers’ Association and Police Commissioner Soumendra Priyadarshi said the guard of honour is given only after the state government announces a state funeral.

“The state government announces state funerals for persons of exceptional categories like ministers and Padma awardees. They are given the guard of honour. Apart from this, police officers and doctors dying while on COVID-19 duty and a village warden killed by Maoists are also entitled to the honour as they are declared as frontline COVID warriors,” Priyadarshi said.

But going by this protocol, why was Panigrahi, a senior police officer, not given the guard of honour? Priyadarshi replied that the deceased officer was the Vigilance Director and the Directorate of Vigilance comes under the jurisdiction of the General Administration and Public Grievance Department.

“Any police officer working under the State Police has the right to be considered as a COVID warrior. But if any police officer is posted as the Transport Commissioner or the officers working under the Odisha State Road Transport Corporation (OSRTC) and Odisha Police Housing and Welfare Corporation (OPHWC), will not be considered as COVID warriors,” he added.

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1 Comment
  1. IP says

    Quite obvious that the state government has forgotten to give the guard of honour, and is now trying to cover its tracks. There is no requirement for the deceased to be a minister or a Padma awardee in order to give a person a state funeral. Gauri Lankesh, Sarabjit Singh, Bal Thackeray etc. have never held ministerial positions or been awarded Padma awards, but were given guard of honours.

    Mr. Panigrahi was an IPS officer. Indian ‘Police’ Service officer. To say he does not qualify as a policeman just because he was working in a department which falls under the jurisdiction of General Administration and Public Grievance, is fallacious, and insulting.

    Considering Mr. Panigrahi’s contribution to literature, plus the fact that he has served the state with absolute selflessness, honesty and integrity, there remains no doubt that Mr. Panigrahi should have been given a guard of honour. Failure to do so, along with the defiant cover-up, has greatly demoralised the police force, who have risked it all in the past one and a half years to enforce lockdowns and protect us during the pandemic.

    My message to the administration is – please stop trying to cover for your folly. Own up, and apologise, because that is the right thing to do. Maharashtra’s political dispensation apologised for omitting to give guard of honour to Ramakant Archekar, Sachin Tendulkar’s coach. It is time our state administration owned up and did the same.

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