17/07/2015 3:57 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Refers To Cops As 'Thullas', Angers Police Commissioner

Delhi state Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and leader of Aam Aadmi Party, or Common Man's Party attends a public meeting to mark the party’s 100 days government in the capital, in New Delhi, India, Monday, May 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)

NEW DELHI -- Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's comment referring to Delhi Police officials as "thullas" has infuriated the city's police commissioner. Kejriwal used the slang during a television interview that was broadcast last night.

"I haven't seen the interview," said Delhi Police commissioner BS Bassi to journalists on Friday. "But if he did indeed say so, it's obscene, derogatory, and uncivilised."

Kejriwal was speaking to India Today's Rajdeep Sardesai during an hour-long interview conducted in Hindi.

He was speaking in the context of his government's disagreements with the Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung. "In 35 years, no L-G has elected the anti corruption bureau chief," Kejriwal said, referring to the appointment of joint commissioner of police MK Meena as Delhi government's ACB head. Jung had superseded Kejriwal's authority, even though the CM had picked a different candidate.

Kejriwal said cabinet ministers feared that the ACB would register an FIR against any one of them, and that's why Jung had taken the step. Though the ACB had the power to register a case against anybody indulging in corruption, he had decided to not take action against union ministers till the Supreme Court gave a decision on a case filed against the ACB by the central government.

However, he would take action against any corrupt Delhi Police officials, said Kejriwal. Speaking in this context, he said, "If a Delhi Police thulla tries to take money from some hawkers, I don't agree that we will not take action. The poor have given us votes. Now if a slum dweller comes and tells me cops are taking a bribe from him, or even some government official, the ACB will register a case."

You can watch the full interview here.

The Origins Of 'Thulla'

The word is a slang for a "policeman", largely used in north and eastern parts of the country. The term connotes a pot-bellied police officer who is usually deemed inefficient, unmotivated or even corrupt.

One forum traces its origins to the word for a jute sack in some eastern Indian languages, which looks similar to police uniform in some parts of the country.

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