Bengaluru: Claiming that most policemen had withdrawn their leave applications, Karnataka Home Minister G Parameshwara on Friday asserted that the mass protest by the state constabulary on Saturday was unlikely.

“We have received a positive response from most constables to our appeal to withdraw their strike proposed on Saturday, as evident from withdrawal of leave applications by many of them across the state,” Parameshwara told reporters after a review meeting with top police officials here.

Lauding some of the constables who took oath not to go on strike, the minister said leave applications of those who did not withdrew have been rejected by the authorities concerned.

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“In view of the appeal made by the chief minister (Siddaramaiah), myself and top police officers, including the DGP (Om Prakash), I am positive that there won’t be any strike tomorrow (Saturday),” Parameshwara reiterated.

Noting that the state police force from constables to top officers was disciplined, the minister said attempts were being made to destablise the police department by outsiders, including those who were suspended, dismissed or retired from the service.

The Karnataka state police association, which the government claims to be unrecognised, has called upon its 60,000 members, comprising largely the constabulary, to go on mass strike on June 4 to protest against their alleged exploitation by senior officers, over work, under pay and inhuman working conditions.

To pre-empt the strike, the state government on Wednesday banned the proposed strike and invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (Esma) to maintain public order and safety across the state.

According to the association, of the sanctioned strength of 94,478 posts in the civil police department, 29,569 posts were vacant across the state, while 3,738 of the 12,575 posts in the armed reserve police department were also vacant.

Admitting that there were many vacancies in the state police department, Parameshwara said they were being filled up to reduce the work load.

“We have recruited 14,000 police personnel over the last three years and will be hiring 3,000 more to reduce the backlog from 16,000 vacancies that have been pending over the years,” Parameshwara added.

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