Indore (Madhya Pradesh): From fighting Naxalites in Raipur to taking charge of taming dacoits in Gwalior, the first police commissioner of Indore, Harinarayanachari Mishra, is a role model for many youngsters and aspiring police officers. This awe-inspiring officer had a Face-to-Face interview with Free Press and shared his experiences and essential plans for Indore.
Q: Please tell us about the President’s Police Medal that you will be receiving on August 15, 2022…
Mishra: The President’s Police Medal for Gallantry is awarded for gallantry in saving lives and property, or in preventing crime, or arresting criminals. Any police personnel is expected to perform uniformly following his duties, preventing crime and staying honest to the oath he takes. The medal can be awarded to any member of the police service in India. It is not an award for a certain rank or does not consider time in service.
Q: Among several postings and tasks that you undertook, which was the most challenging and your biggest achievement?
Mishra: During my tenure in Raipur, I had to work to fight Naxalite attacks. It was a challenging task to set the area free of Naxals. But challenges often bring out the best in us. I began with breaking their groups. Eventually, we were able to bring the Naxals down on their knees and set the city free from their attacks. The Naxal leaders had to, finally, surrender and it was my biggest achievement.
Q: When and how did you receive the Ati Utkrisht Seva Padak?
Mishra: During my tenure in Khandwa, I came across a situation of major conflicts between religious groups. The entire district was always in a split. Riots were commonplace. This hatred was channelling a lot of crime. I worked on erasing the hatred by creating good bonds among the community members. I undertook various tasks to make the religious groups trust each other. There were some disturbing people, who fed and promoted hatred in groups. Stern action was taken against such people, setting a new way of life. This task was rewarded by the government with the Ati Utkrisht Seva Padak.
Q: Which experience is closest to your heart?
Mishra: I had a unique experience in Jabalpur. There was organised crime, terror group attacks, violence and others. We burst into those groups and ensured stern punishment. However, what made my experience unique here was the high rate of suicide. People from all age groups would frequently commit suicide. We conducted a survey and decided to beat this problem. I built an organization, named Sanjeevni. Under this organisation, we would counsel people of all age groups. Slowly, the suicide rates came down. 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. In my two-year tenure there, we slowly invaded their territories and controlled their attacks on, and crimes against, people.
Q: What are the issues in Indore and how will you counter them?
Mishra: The main target in Indore is to control crime against, and harassment of, women, children and the elderly. Incidents of eve-teasing are far too many here. We’re deploying road forces to control that. There’s also a budding drug mafia in the city. We’ve already started cracking down on these people. We’ve got some success and won’t let them flourish here. Just as in major metro cities, people are trying to create a vicious circle of organised crime here, but we’ll bring this to an end. Indore will have a zero-tolerance policy against any organised crime. Some people are trying to make them work. But we’ll bust their rackets. Another issue in Indore is traffic control. To manage that, we’re developing a new system. We already have a traffic inspector and an engineering 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’s a specific beat constable and beat inspector, is a good and functional system. Currently, we don’t have enough staff, but it’s important. We’re trying to gather force and strengthen it. Further on, we’ll be implementing the system.
Q: What keeps you going’
Mishra: My family and their support keep me going. I’ve received immense support from my family. I’ve faced challenges in keeping a very close connection with my kids because of my duties, but I do try to give them quality time. My parents and my wife take care of everything, because of which I can serve the people. I will try to fulfil my duties towards both my family and the country.