If you ever want to understand the depth of supreme sacrifice, just kick start a conversation about life with some Army, Navy or Air Force personnel. It’s almost a given that the chat will leave you inspired and extremely proud of your country. The same can be said of police officers. Anjani Kumar is a no-nonsense cop who is currently posted as the ADGP (Law and Order) of Telangana. In a career spanning over 26 years, the IPS officer has seen it all... from addressing the problems of Naxalites to establishing people-friendly initiatives in the new state of Telangana. In a no-holds-barred interview with You & I, Anjani Kumar talks about his life, his commitment to the profession, and the support he’s received from his peers.
Let’s begin with your journey from IPS cadet to ADGP.
It has been 26 years since I became an IPS officer, from the 1990 batch. My professional life started when I was posted as an ASP in the Jangaon area- a subdivision of the Warangal district. This was when the entire state was engulfed with red-terror (Naxalism). But it was a well-coordinated effort from all the agencies that led to the decline of Naxalism. My life has been professionally satisfying, though on many occasions I feel that it takes a toll on your personal life. You are away from your family and unable to celebrate many occasions, but I guess that’s the nature of our job and we all have to get used to it gradually. I have no grudges about the department and have enjoyed every bit of my job. The challenges are thrilling, and that makes the work very interesting. It makes you innovative and look forward to something new. Every day is a new challenge for a police officer, because every crime is a new challenge.
How has the transition been for you as an officer from United Andhra Pradesh state to Telangana?
I was a DIG in Nizamabad when the movement for creation of a new state garnered pace. Subsequently I was posted as an IGP in Warangal, and then for three years I was Additional Commissioner of Police of Law and Order for Hyderabad. So for almost seven to eight years I have seen the movement for a separate state nurture. As police officers, we have to be very sensitive to these issues. In a democratic setup, we should always ensure that there is balance, and not use undue force or try to curb a movement. But at the same time we should always ensure that the movement remains peaceful, and that there is no damage to property and nobody should feel threatened or intimidated. So we struck a good balance between the two.
How has your life transformed as a cop in the new state?
As a police officer in Telangana, I feel privileged as the state government and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao understood the needs of the force. As you see, every police station has now been given a new vehicle, every SI has been given a motorcycle, every constable has been given a place to work in the police station, and women constables have a separate restroom in police establishments. Above all, the government has sanctioned Rs 70,000 per month for miscellaneous expenses to each police station, which no state in the country has done so far. We have acquired lot of technologies, which put us far ahead of any other state in the country. We are privileged to be in Telangana, our police department is moving forward with public cooperation, and we are in the process of making everything more citizen-centric.
Can you elaborate on the citizen-centric initiatives?
We are the first state to pass laws with regard to public safety, like making CCTV cameras mandatory for all business establishments with more than 100 employees. For six months we undertook campaigns in various colonies and explained the importance of CCTV cameras. We also motivated residential colonies with more than 200 people to install CCTV cameras. It is only through persuasion and constant publicity by the police department that the police and public have come together, and this partnership has ensured that more than 40,000 cameras are now working in the city. As a result, for the first time in the history of the country, there has been a 13.5% decline in crime and a 30% drop in chain-snatching rates. I feel so happy that the public is relishing the fruits of working together with the police department.
What is the current state of ISIS in Hyderabad?
In the last few months there have a few cases where people have been inspired by ISIS ideology. Compared to the overall problem that we see in the Middle East and India, hardly 16-17 cases have been registered in Hyderabad so far, which is not even 0.5% of the total numbers. It is way too meager a number to be seen as an alarming problem.
Apart from your work, do you have any hobbies that interest you?
Horse riding is my passion and I take it up at least twice a week. This is a hobby that I’ve been involved in right from my academy days. I was also a winner of many cups. Aside from this, I have won the RBC Cup for being the best swimmer. I also love to travel whenever I get a chance. In addition, I have a keen interest in classical Indian and Sufi music.
How has your family supported you in your endeavours?
My wife has been very understanding. She is working as a commissioner in the income tax department. She knew right from the beginning that being married to a policeman will have several compulsions and issues. But she has been very cooperative in this regard. Children being born in a family of police officers are also aware that, on many occasions, their father wouldn’t be there for them on events such as birthdays, and of course I have felt bad about that. But I think that is a given in the life of a policeman. I take it as a package deal. --- as told to Augustin