Exclusive: IGP Harishekaran speaks on hazards of social networking, people-friendly police

Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru (ANK)

Mangaluru, Apr 5: P Harishekaran, the 12th IGP of the Western Range comprising Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada, Udupi and Chikkamagaluru district police units, is a 1996 batch IPS officer. Prior to getting into the IPS, he was the customs officer of 1994 batch and worked for two years in customs in Chennai. Later 1996, he passed IPS and was inducted into the Karnataka cadre.

He has worked in different positions as assistant superintendent of police (ASP), independent post Arasikere, Hassan district, superintendent of police (SP), Veerappan operation and SP Chamarajanagar, SP Raichur for two years, SP Tumkur for three years, deputy commissioner of police (DCP) west city, DIG internal security three years and was recently the Additional Commissioner of Police (East), Bengaluru city.

Harishekaran is an athlete and an academically brilliant student who secured a gold medal in History from St Joseph's College, Trichy. With over 20 years of experience in various capacities as IPS officer in Karnataka, Harishekaran believes in team work. Presently P Harishekaran is the IGP of Western Range.

IGP (Western Range) Harishekaran spoke in an exclusive interview to editor-in-chief Walter Nandalike on Daijiworld 24x7 channel's 'Public Challenge' programme.


Q: You have a strong political background as your father was an independent MLA of Tamil Nadu and your sister is an IAS officer. Was it family influence or your own interest to opt IPS as your career?

A: My father was the first independent MLA of Tamil Nadu. It was difficult to become an independent MLA during the year 1956 as Congress was ruling in eight corners of the country. At 26, he became an MLA winning the polls with huge margin. He was very close to people and was recognised for his work. Earlier, few newspapers used to highlight the good works of people. My father had achieved something great which gained respect for our family.

Q: You have served as a customs officer for two years. Is being a customs officer similar to policing?

A: Customs service is one of the top most services in the country. This is a high post which has huge responsibility, but I was not satisfied with my work. My father always advised me to do good to people. In my job as a customs officer, I had to check bills from 250 people everyday. I have worked in seaport as well as airport where I had to check all cargo and clear them.

My father wanted me to become an IPS officer as my sister is an IAS officer. Since my father was in politics, several people used to come home with their problems and we had a petition writer who used to help people write to the concerned department. I grew up watching all this and realised the importance of IAS and IPS as they are the one who bring changes. In 1998, I landed in Karnataka and took the challenge to learn Kannada. When I was serving as ASP in Hassan, I met a lot of people and used to understand them the way they were expressing their pain.

Q: You cracked the murder case of RSS worker Rudresh in Bengaluru. How did you manage to zero in on the culprit?

A: Interacting with all police personnel helps me a lot. There were 10 to 12 cases similar to Rudresh's murder, out of which 5-6 murder cases had a communal angle in Udupi and Mangaluru. It took nearly three years for each case to be solved. In fact, accused were not arrested in some cases.

Rudresh's murder case was a challenging one which was leading to huge protests in Bengaluru. I handled the case quite effectively. I gathered information for the first three days and cracked the case on the seventh day. I usually do the interrogating work myself as I feel frequent questioning will bring out the truth. We had sleepless nights due to the case and numerous meetings over the same. I visited the murder spot thrice to investigate and analyse. That helped me to link all the technical aspects. I formed teams with two police personnel each. I sent a few teams to Mangaluru, Udupi and Karkala too. The case was finally solved after which we could heave a sigh of relief.

Q: Social networking sites are a major headache for the police department. Recently, police prepared strict guidelines for rumour mongers and online crime. What are the steps taken to stop these kinds of crime?

A: Crimes in future will be technology based. My knowledge and experience says that in future, house thefts will be minimal in crime figure. Earlier, there were cases of dacoity, which have stopped now. Now, crime related to technology is rising up to 50 to 60 per cent and crime linked with sex and drugs are also on the increase. Police needs to work on another category of crime, that is financial crimes like misappropriation, cheating and criminal breach of trust.

Thieves will be scared of police but not fraudsters. While thieves' handiwork impacts a house or a family, frauds will dupe hundreds of people through various means. Police have to prioritize and work on this, so that people get relief from such frauds.

Social media is an important tool these days. But it is really unfortunate that some miscreants misuse social media. My appeal to all youngsters especially girls is to know the pros and cons of social media. Schools should take initiative to educate students on social media's merits and demerits. Students today are smart enough to open Facebook accounts and other social media sites.

Lots of girls are falling prey to miscreants. Social media is giving lot of work to police department which has become a challenge. Teachers and professors need to speak about social media and educate students. At present, police has special softwares and social media monitoring cells to crack cases. If some one posts derogatory message on social media, I can assure you that our department has technical capabilities to catch the culprit. I understand the necessity of application of technology in policing.

The police respects individual freedom, liberty and privacy. It does not mean that you can post derogatory message and escape from law. Today, lot of girls hesitate to step into police station after being victims crime on social media. In case you are hesitant to come to police station, then talk to higher officials. We are here to help you. Usually girls do not come to police station because of their conservative family and for the sake of respect. It is better to complain through police website and we will keep the identity of the complainant confidential.

Q: When it comes to people-friendly police stations, people have different opinions as they are scared to visit police stations due to the atmosphere there. How friendly are the police stations in the Western Range?

A: People-friendly police station concept has been introduced. Police stations have completely changed compared to a few years ago. So people are now visiting police stations. Young officers are being recruited. Even the communication has become easier now. Police stations are changing
every minute.

Q: Any staff shortage in the state police department?

A: It is a perennial issue in the department. Every month, police personnel are retiring. The government is conducting police recruitment in quick succession. Even home minister G Parameshwar has taken lot of interest in recruitment so that it eases out pressure. As you already know that a lot of constables have ended their life, the government is thinking in psychology aspect as well.

Q: Naxalism is the one of the biggest challenges for IGP of the Western Range. Do you believe that naxal activity has come down in this zone in the last couple of years?

A: Yes. We have arrested naxal leader Ramesh and the death of Kuppuswamy and Kaveri in a police encounter gave a serious jolt to the naxals. Police along with the government is working for the development of naxal-affected areas. Joint operation has been set up merging three districts Mangaluru, Udupi and Chikkmagaluru with anti naxal force. It is an area domination exercise. When we dominate the area, naxal do not come. When we do not dominate the area, naxals take over.

Right now, there are no naxal issues as we have dedicated officers at work with whom i continuously interact. I worked in two naxal operations among one which is Veerappan operation. God gave me a great opportunity where I worked hard and faced every hurdle which came my way.

Q: Drug consumption by youngsters is another issue in the region. What plans do you have counter it?

A: I will not be answering this question. My action will be the answer. I need sometime and I am aware about the issue.

Q: Coastal region is very sensitive. There was news about fake Indian currencies from Pakistan landing in the region. What is your say on this?

A: The entire coastal region is under my limits. There are nine police stations along with coastal security police. We also have 10 to 12 boats and formed different teams even with fishermen. After coastal security police came to force, fishermen have become alert. We are also in close contact with coast guard, so this area is under police cover.

Q: What is your suggestion for youngsters of Mangaluru who take up policing as occupation or write UPSC exams?

A: People here are smart and educated. This area is known to be an educational hub. But it is sad that this educational hub is being labeled as a communally sensitive area. Intelligence force and DCIB needs to be alert. With support from people, officers and man-force, I am hoping to maintain the peace of this area.

Watch Full Interview


Top Stories

Comment on this article

  • Ratan, Mangalore

    Fri, Apr 07 2017

    Indeed All The best. Intentions are good . What Will he do if Goons Are supported by Political Parties. I have seen a goon from Suratkal visiting Police head Office in mangalore trying to take blessings of Police Chief. Police Chief Promtly Sensing Goons intentions asked him not to enter there. This was a year back. This goon has blessings Of All political Leaders. This goon is permanent visitor in Suratkar Police stssstion. People are aware with this Goons blessings they can get favours in police stations.

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • joe Gonsalves, Mangalore

    Thu, Apr 06 2017

    Indeed it is a good interview Walter had with the present versatile IGP. I too had an occasion of meeting Mr. Harishekaran some time ago. I was happy to hear from him his background. It indeed gave me an impression that A NO-NONSENSE PERSON. His coming to Mangalore as I.G.P. western range is boon to the people of the four districts. Hope his tenure will be along and happy one.

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • SMR, Karkala

    Wed, Apr 05 2017

    Daily dose of false propaganda, communal messages, videos and hate can wreak havoc.
    'The message is the medium' is an important article on this subject, which tells us how similar propaganda led to the genocide in Rwanda where 8 lakh people were killed in just 12 weeks.
    Technology is value-neutral and what makes WhatsApp popular also makes it more dangerous than the radio or platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Unlike them, it is a targeted mass-broadcast. The platform has made it extremely easy and swift to disseminate hate-messages, by allowing people to record and spread audio and video messages among a select group. At the push of the button, these passion-inciting messages are passed on to the selected people, with the highly inflammable raw emotions in them intact.
    In the past few years, several instances have come to light where communal clashes are being planned or instigated through false videos circulating on WhatsApp. The police acknowledged that WhatsApp groups were used to incite the Muzaffarnagar riots in UP in the run-up to the 2014 elections. The gou rakshaks, the Jat agitators, and protesters in Kashmir also take advantage of WhatsApp groups to organise themselves. The government has responded by banning internet in such instances, making India the global leader in imposing internet blackouts. That is a tactical solution which prevents immediate violence. But the graver challenge of creating a fertile environment of hate, round-the-clock, by distorted storytelling continues unabated.
    It is not just the poor and semi-educated who are taken in by the alternative narrative of political propaganda on WhatsApp. The educated elite are equally guilty.
    Lessons from Rwanda genocide tell us to worry about hatred on WhatsApp.Rwanda gives us a warning. Only if we would care to heed.

    Jai Hind

    DisAgree Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sadi, Mangalore

    Wed, Apr 05 2017

    Don't throw Jokes Sir, you should say RSS-Friendly Police instead of People-Friendly Police.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Wed, Apr 05 2017

    Sir, Please bring back SP Anamali ...

    DisAgree [3] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • Hamad, Kallapu

    Wed, Apr 05 2017

    First of all please remove or transfer all police staffs who working for chaddis especially in mangalore.....

    DisAgree [9] Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

Leave a Comment

Title: Exclusive: IGP Harishekaran speaks on hazards of social networking, people-friendly police

You have 2000 characters left.


Please write your correct name and email address. Kindly do not post any personal, abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful or similar comments. Daijiworld.com will not be responsible for any defamatory message posted under this article.

Please note that sending false messages to insult, defame, intimidate, mislead or deceive people or to intentionally cause public disorder is punishable under law. It is obligatory on Daijiworld to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments, to the authority concerned upon request.

Hence, sending offensive comments using daijiworld will be purely at your own risk, and in no way will Daijiworld.com be held responsible.