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Mark Manuel remembers Himanshu Roy

Monday, May 14, 2018

One of the Mumbai police force’s most decorated officers, Himanshu Roy, ended his life on May 11 when he shot himself with his licenced revolver after a nearly 2-year battle with cancer. The Additional Director General of Police left a suicide note that indicated that it was the absolute frustration about his battle with bone cancer that led himto take this extreme step. During the course of his illustrious career as head of the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), Himanshu had handled many landmark cases including 26/11, the 2013 IPL spot-fixing, the J Deymurder case etc. Former Afternoon editor, Mark Manuel, has this to say about his once upon-a-time buddy who had lost a lot of weight in the recent past: “(Several years ago when) he became DCP Zone I in South Mumbai, in his vast jurisdiction fell the heritage offices of Ballard Pier and the corporate skyscrapers of Nariman Point, the five star hotels, all the cricket and football maidans, the gymkhanas and clubs, the cinema halls and city’s first multiplex, the tony gated residential colonies, old dilapidated chawls and sprawling slums, Cuffe Parade, Navy Nagar and Marine Drive. Among which in a quiet bylane of Flora Fountain was my newspaper office. Himanshu would show up during lunch time and ask me to order Fried Fish from the Mangalorean seafood eatery across the road. He did this often. Parking his police Ambassador with the orange beacon discreetly at the end of the lane. Himanshu went from strength to strength. In his career and personal life. He went to Nashik as Commissioner of Police and two years later, when he returned, I was shocked to see the tall, gangly Himanshu had put on loads of muscle and was looking like Clark Kent in his Superman avatar. He became Joint Commissioner for Law & Order in the Mumbai Police, then  headed the Crime Branch and Anti-Terrorism Squad. And all along we remained close. Meeting at our friend Nithiij Arenja’s gym Qi Lifecare at Churchgate where Himanshu worked out like a man possessed and pumped himself up with more iron every day. But we met less frequently socially. He was my go-to-man in the police...

He tried to fight the cancer. Going to the gym till his last day. A giant of a man who came down from 100-plus kilos to 77. Showing a brave, sunny face and giving a wink and thumbs-up to those who asked fearfully how he was getting on. But behind the mask, behind the beard that he had grown to hide the pain and his own fear, Himanshu must have known his clock was ticking irreversibly. Because in the end his great strength deserted him. And in despair he reached for the gun. It is a crying shame.

Farewell Tiger, I will always miss you.”

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