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Quaiser Khalid, a reformatory, rather than a strict IG

Thursday, April 05, 2018
Photographs by Azad Shrivastav

As we enter his chamber, the stern and pensive looking senior police officer looks at us and asks us to take a seat while he prepares his list of tasks for the day.  Quaiser Khalid, Inspector General (IG), protection of civil rights (women and child), Maharashtra police, we find is a policeman with a ‘human touch’, unlike his seemingly strict demeanour as he speaks to ADC’s Dev Kotak and Noman Ansari as we find out that the IPS officer dons several hats

A poet, student counsellor, public speaker and by profession a cop. Khalid, who hails from Araria district in Bihar, has very unconventional and unique ways of dealing with people, cases, criminals, colleagues and life at large, unlike most of the other policemen. His attitude is that of a reformatory, rather than a punishable one.  That is a bit strange for a cop, given the negative image and the bad press Mumbai Police has to deal with regularly. We too found his ideologies and philosophy a bit odd.

There is a video of him presenting the welcome address at interfaith iftaar and a few other videos on YouTube that are on auto-play mode on his desktop as we speak.

The officer has always been inspirational, be it with his talks to bring about communal harmony, giving guidance, tips and training to civil services aspirants or using philosophy and excerpts from Urdu ghazals he has penned to deal with co-workers and the police machinery.

Calling himself the ‘people’s man’, he is hardly ever inaccessible.

“There is ‘service’ in the name (IPS) and if we cannot do something as basic as providing that, then we are not doing justice to our profession. The aim is not to merely exist in the administration. You feel a sense of satisfaction at having done your bit. I always ask what have I done anything for the society, always felt that it is my duty to give back. Who do we exist for? There are many unfortunate people. We cannot afford to confine ourselves and remain aloof in our ivory towers. My access is open to all. If we as police officers share our experiences and hear the problems people face, we will become more approachable and that will help in resolving conflicts and change our image too. What message we convey to the people is important,” he says citing an example of how the culture of ‘camp office’ still flourishes.

Someone who is deeply influenced by poetries, ghazals and literature, from time to time he breaks into quotes and popular citations of Manto, Rumi and popular Indian poets. As he cites examples to enable us to understand better, he uses love as a common reference point to reunite disgruntled members of the society.

Is poetry and philosophy something he takes help of commonly at home too in case of a dispute with the better half? He smiles and says, “It helps in resolving conflicts and she melts. Human relations need to have flexibility. Poetry is  actually very humbling, they connect with her. They help me realise that I am not perfect.”

The former Additional CP, Traffic, has worked on cases of crimes relating to children and women, the youth and they only seem to rise, get more horrific and are disturbing.

“I shudder at times when I hear that these really small and young girls have been raped or molested. The youth is disconnected with family. Today’s nuclear families are not able to devote that kind of time so children look for solutions to their problems online. There are many external influences, so parents must know that conflict will not solve anything,” says Khalid with a sense of concern.

Using poetry and literature to better his objective as a policeman and to make the society a better place to live, he says: “I am okay if I am nicknamed as peoples policeman, but want all cops to become like that and prevent injustice, be humble and cooperative -- something which we have been recruited for.”

Khalid, credited for having formed the first woman commando team of Mumbai Police in 2011, has managed to contain riot-like situations during his three-year tenure as the Addl CP of east region.

For the first time in Maharashtra, he has visited on the field and reviewed and talked to SPs on why conviction has suffered in crimes against women and weaker sections. Seventeen new DSPs have been recruited and for the first time Department of Social Justice and Special Assistance has sanctioned funds to conduct a day-long camp and train the fresh recruits to deal with these cases, under Khalid’s supervision.

The only officer to quote verses from Quran and speak to Imams, I ask him will he take up philosophy as an alternate profession, he quickly responds, “I already have. Once I retire I will do something in child counselling and provide coaching to civil services aspirants,” as he takes a call and we exit his chamber.

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