The City's Liberty Is In My DNA: D Sivanandhan, Former Mumbai Police Commissioner

During a conversation series, Mumbai Charcha, Sivanandhan said, “I have not wielded power after and have not wielded power before”.

The City's Liberty Is In My DNA: D Sivanandhan, Former Mumbai Police Commissioner

D Sivanandhan, Former DGP Maharashtra and Former Mumbai Police Commissioner has had a decorated 35-year career as an IPS officer. During his tenure, he ensured the amelioration of the welfare, equipment and infrastructure for the police force.

During a conversation series, Mumbai Charcha, Sivanandhan said, “I have not wielded power after and have not wielded power before”. He believes that power is given to all the citizens in equal measures through the constitution.

The former Mumbai Police Commissioner on the concept of “power” remarked that the misuse of authority by many is considered as power by highlighting, “Police get more power when they misuse it. All of us are equally empowered citizens, if people are not knowledgeable about this, they become afraid of the police”.

He strongly opines that one’s loyalty should be to the constitution and the law. On being asked his view on criminals, Sivanandhan elaborated on how criminals become lawbreakers either by design which makes them “regular criminals”, or do so in “momentary insanity”, owing to emotions such as anger, greed and lust. While the earlier form 10 per cent of the spectrum, the latter is nearly 90-95 per cent of the group, he claimed.

He remarked that whilst the law empowers the police to deal with them accordingly, the criminal justice system needs to provide criminals with adequate diagnoses. He gave an instance of where an open-air jail is constituted in a village in every state where there are no walls and criminals undertake agricultural activities

Shifting his focus towards Mumbai, and its remarkable police he elucidated its diligence by expressing how during Mumbai rains the traffic police can often be seen helping citizens stranded. This image, according to him, is rarely witnessed in other places.

Further elaborating on his relationship with Mumbai, Sivanandhan vocalized, “The city’s liberty is in my DNA.” For him the city’s resilience defines itself, he collocated this by phrasing how the 1992 bomb blasts in Mumbai were the biggest terror attack in the world till then.

“257 people died, 857 were injured, 100 iconic buildings were attacked, several were missing, but the next day in trains and government offices, 95 per cent of the people were present. There was no panic, everything resumed to normalcy. It is the city of resilience, no wonder it has been the centre of production with 40 per cent of India’s income tax being generated from here,” articulated Sivanandhan.

The Former DGP Maharashtra then expanded upon the social measures he undertook for Mumbai that include the Roti Bank which he commenced in 2018 where he has given 85 lakh free meals till now. Further, he refined, “During the pandemic, when migrant labourers were moving, we provided 47,000 meals”.

Apart from the COVID-19 pandemic which wreaked havoc upon the city, Sivanandhan conceives that the top security issues of Mumbai are the revival of organized crime, narcotics terrorism, real terrorism, religious fundamentalism, air terrorism through drones, cyber terrorism and utilization of satellites for spying.

“Youngsters can be taken over by the dark web and allegations of recent power cuts in Mumbai are being attributed to Chinese hackers, amidst this cybercrime is the future”, he declared.

He then pronounced, “Organized crime ruled the roost in Mumbai from the 1960s to almost 2000s. In 1998 Mumbai went out of control, extortion money ruled the city. Back then, in one year, 101 businessmen were shot, however from 2002 to now, there hasn’t been a single shootout. We used five to six strategies to wipe out the mafia.”

Speaking about the highly debated trial offered to 26/11 terrorist Kasab, Sivanandhan voiced, “City gave terrorist a fair trial for four and a half years because it was necessary to show the world that India is a leading democracy”.

“After 26/11, I submitted the proposal of setting up 5,000 cameras on the road, therefore I can say that technology is catching up with criminals, all their activities are being monitored so no criminal can get away with crime”, explained the IPS officer.

In addition to the steps undertaken by the Mumbai police to curb crime, Sivanandhan has certain expectations from Mumbaikars, these include the obedience of the law, the safety of women through training at home, removal of slums and the enhancement of employment opportunities.

He has been doing his bit by assisting the vulnerable section of society by providing 10,000-11,000 daily meals to the poor. “I am trying to control crime by taking care of the poor children and taking them to school”, he credits.

Sivanandhan then recommends ways to make the city more liveable, these include high police morale and awareness amongst the vulnerable sections of society. Moreover, since traffic management is the biggest challenge in Mumbai, he advocates separate lanes for bicycles by prescribing the usage of interior roads by cyclists and that of the coastal road by cars.

He ended the conversation by declaring, “Mumbai police is the finest police in India because Mumbaikars are the finest in the country”. 

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