Kottayam (Ker), Sep 16 (PTI) Rajya Sabha MP Suresh Gopi on Thursday said he believes the entire practice of saluting should be done away with, but there should not be any "political discrimination" in it.
Gopi, on Wednesday, had courted controversy for allegedly demanding an honorary salute from a police officer who apparently did not acknowledge his presence when the BJP MP was visiting a village, in Thrissur district, which was affected by a storm.
While speaking to reporters on Thursday, he said, "The officer in question does not have a complaint... I believe we should stop the salute practice altogether. No need to salute anyone. But there should not be any political discrimination in it (saluting). We will not take it, bet it any association." His remark came in response to some reporters comments that the Kerala Police Officers Association has said a salute can only be given to those who are legally eligible.
Though MPs and MLAs will not come under this category, police officers generally show their respect towards them also, an office-bearer of the association had said.
"What association? That association does not belong to the democratic set up. If they believe they do, let them come to the Parliament and complain to my chairman. We will see.
"An association is meant for their (police) welfare. They should not play politics," he said.
When reporters said that some have said there is no official obligation to salute MPs and MLAs, Gopi asked, "Who said that? A practice here in the state is not above the law of the country. It is the DGP of the state who decides whom to salute and whom not to. Let him say there is no official obligation to salute MPs and MLAs." Gopi, who had unsuccessfully contested in the April 6 Assembly polls on a BJP ticket from Thrissur, had on Wednesday itself clarified that he had not demanded the salute, but 'gently' informed the police officer that he, as an MP, deserved a salute.
The clarification came in the wake of the incident being telecast on news channels.
In his explanation, the actor -- who has donned the role of police officers in several Malayalam movies -- had said that while talking to people in the affected area, he asked whether forest officials were present there.
When he noticed police personnel in a jeep who did not acknowledge his presence, Gopi had said he told the Sub Inspector that he was an MP, not a Mayor and deserved a salute.
Gopi had also said that he addressed the officer as "sir" and had requested him to inform the forest officials to remove the uprooted trees from the area.
In July this year, Thrissur municipal corporation Mayor M K Varghese had approached the state police chief with the demand for an honorary salute from policemen.