Former Police Commissioner Ahmed Faseeh has come under fire from his successor Abdulla Riyaz over Faseeh's failure to meet the mutinous Police officers at the Republic Square on February 6-7 and the decision to withdraw the Police from the Artificial Beach during a potential conflict.
In an interview with Haveeru last night, present Police Commissioner Riyaz stressed that the order to withdraw the Police acting as a peace-keeping force at the Artificial Beach area on the night of February 6 should not have been made by a person in the capacity of the Police Chief. When asked whether Faseeh had been ordered to do so by the then Home Minister Hassan Afeef, Riyaz stressed that the Home Minister cannot make such an order under any law.
“Even if ordered the Police Commissioner must not obey. Home Minister cannot make such an order. An illegal order cannot be issued. The Police Act also clearly stipulates that the Police Commissioner is the highest authority of the Police force. So the Commissioner of Police has the authority to execute his duties independently. But it had not been do so at the time,” Riyaz who had served in the Police with Faseeh detailed.
Riyaz further alleged that the former Home Minister issued orders to use tear gas during the opposition protests while at the Police operations room.
“During the last seven months the Home Minister has not stepped into the operations room even once. These are our achievements. I don’t ask for the Minister’s consent over every little thing. I don’t believe that the Home Minister’s permission is required for me to make an operational decision of the Police,” he explained.
He also said that when he assumed the post of Police Commissioner on the night of February 8, the Police force had been in a dire state of affairs. Riyaz alleged that the former government had undermined the importance of the Police and had allowed political influence to invade the Police force.
“During the era of the previous government, the cabinet secretary has slept in the Commissioner’s cabin. When persons of a certain level is arrested there is an immediate order made for their release. When the vehicles of certain individuals are towed, they are released against normal protocols. During routine traffic checks when such individuals are stopped and asked for the drivers’ license, the on duty officer would receive a call from the Police Commissioner or his deputy. But we teach new recruits to be fair and impartial. To enforce the law. But the environment wasn’t there. The whole place had gone down the drain,” Riyaz said.
Riyaz stressed that 99 percent of the Police officers want to act fairly within the contours of the laws and regulations. But when that opportunity was denied and the Police institution was being used as “political machinery” and a “political tool”, the officers lost confidence in their superiors, Riyaz stated.
He further referred to some reports which according to him had indicated that some officers had brought the issues of political influence to the attention of Faseeh but had been ignored by the then Police Chief.
“The Commissioner had no authority or choice. The environment for the role of the Commissioner was absent. There was a weak leadership at the Police. There were no morals or values in this place. People weren’t happy and they were resigning. The amount of applicants wishing to join the Police force receded. This service was very much neglected,” Riyaz alleged.
He also claimed to have known that the confidence in Faseeh had been lost within the Police force. On that note he added that a leader should guide his subordinates and ensure their safety and security.
“For example I was axed when Faseeh was the Commissioner. Faseeh couldn’t protect me. I’m one of the officers here who had received the most training. One of the officers who had the experience and the most investment vested. But I wasn’t protected. I was ousted due to a political motive. Former Deputy Commissioner Fayaz was axed. He was one of the most educated, brilliant, committed and dedicated officers here. He was also fired quite abruptly while he was receiving training at the FBI Academy. He was not even aware of it,” Riyaz detailed.
“The junior officers would realize that Faseeh wasn’t in charge when such decisions were being made in his presence. From that point on every officer would seek protection for oneself.”
Police Commissioner in conclusion alleged that during the tenure of Nasheed there was no confidence in the Police as the former President believed that the military would restore order in the country.