Indian Police Officer Describes Battling and Rehabilitating Terrorists

IPS officer Dr. Ramesh (center with award) poses with Consul General Anupam Ray and dignitaries from India Culture Center and Indo-American Chamber of Commercew of Greater Houston.

IPS officer Dr. Ramesh (center with award) poses with Consul General Anupam Ray and dignitaries from India Culture Center and Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston.

By Manu Shah

HOUSTON: Additional Director General of Police, Dr. Ramesh spent a good portion of his career cracking down on militants, leading anti-terrorist attacks, flushing out infiltrators and most importantly, instituting rehabilitation programs that helped the Indian government “get to the youth before the terrorists got to them.”

At an event cohosted by the Indian Consulate and IACCGH, Dr. Ramesh opened up about his postings in hard-core, volatile places like Kashmir and West Bengal and encounters with terrorists and militants in a career that has spanned almost 30 years. Expressing his admiration and esteem for Dr. Ramesh, Consul General Dr. Anupam Ray noted that “India has survived terrorism and emerged stronger for it and this is because of selfless and bold officers like Dr. Ramesh.”

A native of Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, and Dr. Ramesh is a 1988 batch West Bengal cadre IPS officer. While in the police force, he chalked up an MBA from IIM Kolkata, two PhDs and is presently working on his third doctorate. He almost lost his life in a counter insurgency encounter when a bomb exploded inches away from him, but despite the heavy bleeding, he continued to lead. Dr. Ramesh was awarded the Parakaram Award for his grit and bravery and such is his iron will and endurance that he can run nonstop for 25 km.

Inspired by his freedom fighter grandfather and a mother who fostered a spirit of public service, Dr. Ramesh joined the IPS and in his own way, says, he converted it to “Indian People Service.” Presently, he heads the investigative wing of the Human Rights Commission in W. Bengal or as he describes it, “helping the common man stand up to the might of the Government.”

Having interrogated terrorists, Dr. Ramesh pinned extreme poverty as the cause that drove the youth to terrorism, especially in areas like Multan. He also studied their psychology and realized that the majority of them are victims of depression and lack a sense of self-worth. Such individuals were targeted by terrorist recruiters and there was no going back for them as their families were threatened with dire consequences. The only way out for a terrorist, according to Dr. Ramesh, was “death” – either by security forces or in a jihadi attack.

One particular experience that stuck with Dr. Ramesh was of an 11-year-old Kashmiri boy who was paid to throw a hand grenade into a CRPF camp. The boy was tracked down and sent to a juvenile home, but Dr. Ramesh sidestepped the judgement and sent him to a neighboring school “so he wouldn’t become a terrorist.” In a happy ending, the boy is today a police recruiter.

During his postings, Dr. Ramesh also stepped up efforts to combat terrorist activities with several rehabilitative steps such as recruitment programs by the Police Department, a “Patrolling without Petrol for Peace Walk” and job creation programs.

Dr. Ramesh, who considers freedom fighter Chandrashekhar Azad as “the greatest of all patriots”, is no less one himself.