City commissioner of police, Gulabrao Pol, called upon the strong student community of Pune to come forth and volunteer to help the police force in maintaining law and order during the upcoming Ganesh festival in September. He was invited at an interaction session with students of Bharati Vidyapeeth’s New Law College (NLC), organised on August 25 on NLC Erandwane campus in the city.
Senior advocate and faculty member of NLC, Latika Salgaonkar, introduced Pol to the students gathered. Pol also gave a presentation on safety measures to be taken during terrorist attacks. Principal of NLC, Mukund Sarda, was also present on the occasion.
Joining the police force in 1979, Pol has served for 11 years in Mumbai handling sensitive and difficult issues. With reference to the recent bomb blast on JM Road and the German Bakery blast in 2010, he said, “Terrorist attacks and bomb blasts change the psyche and behaviour of society. Today, people live in flats behind closed doors and have no clue about their neighbours. They are oblivious to who the suspects are and what suspicious objects are.” Here are the excerpts of the interaction between students and Pol …
With increase in incidents of attacks on the police force recently, what are the safety measures taken by the department?
It is true that the police force is exposed to attacks and dangers, but it is part of our duty and we are trained to thwart such attacks. The only solution is to remain fit and be strong to defend yourself. We are victimised and our concerns are often neglected. One has to suffer as there is no solution.
With the recent attacks on North East students in the city, is the police working on a routine assessment system to ensure such incidents don’t happen again?
This is the first such incident wherein students of particular college and area were targeted. We found that majority of North East students live in Kondhwa, which is a Muslim dominant area. We are making efforts to bring together the Muslim community, local corporators and religious leaders to interact regularly. We also held peace meetings among them to reduce tensions.
We also deployed the striking force and 24-hour patrolling. We also contacted various education institutions in the city and briefed them on the safety measures. We have made sincere efforts to normalise the situation in the city. You are much safer here in Pune than in your home state.
How does your department cope with political pressures and interferences during police proceedings and prosecution?
We are living in a democratic set up and officers serving the nation have to take impartial decisions without being perturbed by any political pressure or interferences.
In case of any problem faced by citizens, they fear going to the cops for help. Can the police improve on their public relations?
There is no need to be scared of approaching the police for any help because it is their duty to help and protect the citizens. During our freedom struggle, we had to face a lot of police sticks so even today, the fear of the stick is still ingrained in the psyche of the public.
During chaos and instability in the city, can students help the police department?
We took the help of Poona College students and Mohalla Committee recently to regain the confidence of North East students and ease the situation. During the upcoming Ganesh festival, we are hoping that student volunteers, NCC students and sportsmen from various colleges come forward and help the police in keeping vigilance in the city. We want over 5,000 students to participate. Public participation is very important in peacekeeping activities.
Pune police commissioner Gulabrao Pol while interacting with students of New Law College