Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar on Tuesday warned the police against the alleged saffronisation of their department that happened in the previous Bharatiya Janata Party government, reported The Hindu.

“There will be no room for the saffronisation of the police department in our regime,” Shivakumar said. “There have been instances in Mangaluru, Vijayapura, and Bagalkot, where policemen have posed in saffron attire and insulted the police department. If you have respect for the country, you must wear the national flag.”

The Congress leader was addressing the police top brass with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in a meeting to review the law and order situation in the state, reported The Hindu. He was referring to episodes of police celebrating festivals in police stations in saffron attire.

In of the incidents last year, picture of the Vijayapura superintendent of police and other police personnel wearing saffron shawls were shared widely shared on social media, reported The Hindu. Siddaramaiah, who was the leader of Opposition at the time, had critcised Basavaraj Bommai, who was the chief minister of the state at the time, and demanded his resignation on the issue.

On Tuesday, Siddaramaiah told the top police officials that the Congress government will come down heavily on incidents of moral policing in the state irrespective of which community engages in it, reported The Hindu.

“What we have told the police is that we need to have a people-friendly administration,: he added. “The police have to be people friendly and, secondly, they must behave in a courteous manner with people who come to the police station.”

The chief minister also asked the police officials to keep a check on efforts to disrupt communal harmony through social media posts in the state, reported The Hindu.

In October 2021, Bommai had lent support to his party MLA after he had escorting men arrested in a moral policing case in Moodbidri following interim bail, reported The News Minute. The men were accused of harassing a group of friends – three women and a man from Hindu and Muslim communities – while they were enroute to Karkala.

“We all have to bear responsibility in society,” Bommai had said at the time, defending the BJP legislator. “People have some strong emotions and when there are certain actions, there will be reactions. Even our youth have to make sure that the emotions of people in the society are not offended. This is a social issue and we need morality. When there is no morality in the society, there will be reactions accordingly.”

At the time, Siddaramaiah had opposed Bommai’s stance and said that the BJP government was trying to protect anti-social elements instead of putting them behind bars.