From fighting the Naxals to taming the dacoits

Indore (Madhya Pradesh): From fighting the Naxalites in Raipur to taking charge of taming the dacoits in Gwalior, Indore’s first Commissioner of Police, Harinarayanachari Mishra, is a role model for many young and aspiring police officers. This impressive officer had a Face to face interview with Free Press and shared his essential experiences and projects for Indore.

Q: Tell us about the Presidential Police Medal you will receive on August 15, 2022…

Mishra: The Presidential Police Medal for Bravery is awarded for bravery in saving life and property, or preventing crime or arresting criminals. All police personnel are expected to perform their duties consistently, prevent crime, and honor the oath they take. The medal can be awarded to any member of the police service in India. It is not a reward for a certain rank or does not take into account time spent in service.

Q: Among several assignments and tasks you have undertaken, which was the most difficult and your greatest achievement?

Mishra: During my term in Raipur, I had to work to fight against Naxalite attacks. It was a difficult task to liberate the region of Naxals. But challenges often bring out the best in us. I started by breaking up their groups. Eventually we were able to bring the Naxals to their knees and free the town from their attacks. The leaders of Naxal finally had to surrender and that was my greatest achievement.

Q: When and how did you receive the Ati Utkrisht Seva Padak?

Mishra: During my mandate in Khandwa, I encountered a situation of major conflicts between religious groups. The whole district was still divided. Riots were commonplace. This hatred channeled many crimes. I worked to erase the hate by creating good bonds between members of the community. I undertook various tasks to make the religious groups trust each other. There were disturbing people, who fueled and encouraged group hatred. Severe measures were taken against these people, establishing a new way of life. This task was rewarded by the government with the Ati Utkrisht Seva Padak.

Q: What experience are you most passionate about?

Mishra: I had a unique experience in Jabalpur. There was organized crime, attacks by terrorist groups, violence and others. We broke into these groups and ensured severe punishment. However, what made my experience here unique was the high suicide rate. People of all age groups are said to commit suicide frequently. We have investigated and decided to fix this issue. I built an organization, named Sanjeevni. As part of this organization, we would advise people of all age groups. Slowly, suicide rates declined. More importantly, this project made my heart happy. I felt blessed to be able to save lives.

Q: How was your experience in Gwalior?

Mishra: Gwalior was a hotspot for dacoits when I was posted there. During my two years in office there, we slowly invaded their territories and controlled their attacks and crimes against people.

Q: What are the problems in Indore and how will you counter them?

Mishra: The main objective in Indore is to fight against crime and harassment of women, children and the elderly. There are far too many eve-teasing incidents here. We are deploying road forces to control this. There is also a budding drug mafia in the city. We have already started cracking down on these people. We have some success and we won’t let them flourish here. Just like in big metropolitan cities, people are trying to create a vicious circle of organized crime here, but we will stop it. Indore will have a zero tolerance policy against any organized crime. Some people try to make them work. But we will break their rackets. Another problem in Indore is traffic control. To handle this, we are developing a new system. We already have a traffic inspector and a technical inspector to coordinate the new system and regulation of traffic rules in the city.

Q: Are you considering or implementing the beat system in Indore Police?

Mishra: The beat system, where there is a specific beat constable and inspector, is a good working system. Currently, we do not have enough staff, but it is important. We are trying to gather forces and strengthen them. Later we will implement the system.

Q: What keeps you going?

Michra: My family and their support keeps me going. I received tremendous support from my family. I have struggled to keep a very close bond with my children due to my duties, but I try to give them quality time. My parents and my wife take care of everything, thanks to which I can serve the people. I will try to fulfill my duties towards my family and the country.

Posted: Saturday, January 29, 2022, 10:46 p.m. IST

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