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old city victim of 'bad naam'

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The Muslim population in Hyderabad is 'excellent'. The Old city suffers fromA unnecessary branding, says Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma Lata...

The Muslim population in Hyderabad is 'excellent'. The Old city suffers fromA unnecessary branding, says Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma

Lata Jain

Your first statement after you took over as Hyderabad's Commissioner of Police was 'People friendly police'. Could you achieve this? Yes, to some extent, but we have a long way to go. I take a broad approach to a problem and look at the bigger picture. I bring historical, socio-economic context to the subject at hand. I admit my current job is challenging, not only in the traditional sense, but in terms of new challenges it throws up constantly.

Telangana, proliferation of hookah parlours, Jagan's arrest, Akbarruddin's arrest, Valentine's day unrest, temple robbery, recent Dilshuknagar blasts ... so many issues cropped up in the recent times. How did you manage as a newcomer? Newcomer? Hardly! I've worked as DCP (South) and Hyderabad is not new to me at all. I never found any difficulty in tackling all these situations. I thank my seniors, DGP Dinesh Reddy and the very good team of officers. But for their support and united effort, this wouldn't have been easy.

SP, Ranga Reddy and Mahabubnagar districts; Group Commander-operations of Greyhounds; DCP of South zone in Hyderabad and DIG, Warangal Range. Director (CISF) and now the Kotwal. What have been your experiences? Each job has been a rewarding experience in itself. You apply yourself to the job, you get utmost satisfaction. IG (Greyhounds) was challenging and a fantastic experience. In CISF, I combated a lot of change. I brought seven institutions under a single umbrella which facilitated training and increased the standards of training.

There are some reports in media that you often favour officers from North? Is it true? It is baseless. I am not the only officer to make decisions on transfers and recruitment. There are other officers. In fact, we take the best, regardless of regions. There are several very efficient officers from South working with the department.

As a Commissioner, how do you balance your relationships especially with transfers, pressure from political parties etc. How do you handle the pressure? There are times when there is pressure, but people understand. If you give logical explanations even politicians understand. I am thankful that leaders, local ministers understood when I explained.

It's generally heard from your juniors that you ask them to go by the rule book, without favouring either party. Is it possible to apply these rules, especially in a department which is judged as corrupt. Yes it is possible. You need to set an example for your juniors and they follow. We need to follow principles even under adverse circumstances. It has been possible wherever I have worked.

Even today, people struggle to file a FIR for simple issues to domestic violence to rape cases. What are the measures you have taken? We accept there are gaps and yes, in spite of clear instructions, some of the officers do not carry out the message. We constantly hold review meetings to rectify the same.

What is the progress in the Dilsukhnagar twin blasts investigations? It has been transferred to NIA but we have some evidence from the videos. The videos have been analyzed and we are matching them with the photos. We will be able to give something positive shortly. The pictures show two men planting the bomb.

Has the crime rate come down after you took over as the Commissioner? How does the crime graph look? With increase in population, crime rate does increase. But that does not mean inefficiency.

Your contact number is public. Amazing. Are you not annoyed by the number of calls? Not at all. I receive calls globally and I patiently respond to various kinds of questions. People can interact with me directly and I get to know the health of our system.

What is the safety blue print for Hyderabad? What concrete measures have you taken for a safer future? Only so much can be done without modernisation. We have requested for more CCTVS, modernisation of traffic signals, more vehicles. With the help of our DG, we have set up a centralised call centre to improve our mobility. We are training our personnel to be more sensitive and take immediate steps towards the safety of common public.

As someone who travelled across the country and the world, what do you think Hyderabad needs in terms of safety? A lot of modernisation, infrastructure and people-centric police gadgets are force multipliers. We need funding too. We expect better civic sense from the public. We can't be present everywhere, so please help the police by passing on relevant information.

The Old City often features in discussion when it comes to terrorism. How far is it true? Hyderabad suffers from 'bad'naam. The city's Muslim population is excellent. They understand and respect others. There is good civic sense, but Old City has been unnecessarily branded that way.

How's the daily schedule of the man responsible for the safety of ten million people? I am up with the first light at 6 am followed by an hour-long yoga and gym at home. Then I devote some time reading both vernacular and English newspapers. By 8 am, I have my breakfast, followed by an analysis of the daily situational report of the various wings of city police. I hold teleconferences with senior police officers to sort out the day's business activities � the law and order situation across the city belts, the logistic arrangements, review of important criminal activities and understanding of major events that have taken placed in the past 24 hours, among others.

I reach office at around 10 am. The routine office work includes appointments, meetings; matters with the DGP office, the Secretariat and other important departments of the government. Between 3 pm and 6 pm, several visitors pour in with wide-ranging types of problems, which I carefully look upon. I also take detailed note on the activeness of police stations during these hours. I come home around 8 pm. My wife Mamta Anurag (retired IPS officer and presently working with the United Nations), my son and daughter are in the US.

My main duty is to maintain Law & Order and keep the city peaceful. Also to monitor the day-to-day functioning of the police stations and traffic police. The administrative responsibilities include strategic and logistic support. Managing police personnel, finances, judicial, welfare of the force, redressal of public grievances and modernisation of the force are an integral part of our lives.

The last cigarette you smoked was on January 27, 1993. How did you manage to quit? I used to smoke and that was the day I quit. One of my closest friends expired on that day and as a mark of respect to his words, I quit smoking that day.

What are your hobbies? I love playing with my dogs, listening to Lata Mangeshkar and Md Rafi, reading news from across the world and reading books. Your message to the younger generation. It is a matter of great concern that youngsters are taking to drugs and pub culture. Do not surrender to such fancies; we need not ape the western culture. Concentrate on your studies, become responsible citizens and get name, fame for your parents, city and a good career.

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