A friend of police officer Uvaraja Gopal spoke up after the latter’s death. Uvaraja Gopal was a 36-year-old police officer. Prior to his death, he posted about workplace bullying and how he had to endure those sufferings.
His friend, Raj Naga, shared his despair. He said Uvaraja had sent him a 4-minute long voice message before his death, crying about all the difficulties he had faced and telling Raj to share the truth with the world.
Uvaraja’s early years at the force
The two first met when Uvaraja served his NS as a patrol officer in 2007. In 2015, Uvaraja transferred to Ang Mo Kio North Neighbourhood Police Station. At the same time, his friend Raj was a Senior Paracounsellor at Ang Mo Kio North Police Division. Uvaraja sought help from Raj for multiple difficulties he faced at work. Raj would listen to him and guide him on how to overcome his problems.
Raj knew his friend to be passionate and disciplined in policing.
“He had a distinctly rigid sense of duty, and he held himself to very high standards of behaviour, turnout and bearing even when he was off duty. He was very clear that his calling as a police officer was to serve the public, and not about pleasing his superiors.”
However, difficulties plagued Uvaraja’s career as he faced conflicts with his teammates. He had reported his Team Leader for using a racial slur. His teammates did not support him and the Team Leader was never held accountable. He was ostracized and stuck as he was denied a transfer. His problems at work caused him to have anxiety attacks. His health also suffered.
Health problems, distrust and investigations
Due to his medical condition, Uvaraja had to take leaves. His CO had called him back and demanded to know if his medical reasons were valid. He had shouted vulgarities at him.
Despite wanting another transfer, Uvaraja was denied again and got a low performance grade. The distrust in him was so bad he was told off for leaving his house even though he was on no-pay leave. He was also made to go through several baseless investigations to prove his medical condition. It is no surprise Uvaraja had lost trust for the management.
“Raja may have made mistakes during his time in the force, but who hasn’t? Everything he ever did as a police officer was in pursuit of ideas that he held dear… he destroyed his career when he first blew the whistle against his superiors. No officer deserves to be held back and thumbed down for so long. And yet, it happened.”
Remembering Uvaraja S/O Gopal
Uvaraja joined the police force wanting to fight crime, succeed and look after his wheelchair-bound mother. But along the way, he was doubted, not trusted, bullied and left to fend for himself. It is terrible for someone to have to suffer so much and end up taking his own life. It is horrible that things were allowed to come to this.
“Raja left us wearing his full operational uniform. He embodied the ideology of C.L.I.F for as long as he could. He showed Courage in the face of discrimination, he was unwaveringly Loyal to the force, his Integrity never faltered even when he was shamed, and his Fairness towards his fellow officer was not reciprocated.
Farewell Sgt T120387, see you at the end of the shift.”
Rest in peace, Uvaraja.