Malegaon is a city which has always been in the news for its diversity. Malegaon came up in the news as an exemplary city at a time when mob lynching around the country is not going to stop. Following rumors on WhatsApp in Dhule district where five people were brutally beaten to death is hardly 40 km away from Malegaon. But, hours after five people were about to lynched in Malegaon but a courageous and Brave Police officer And Malegaon Additional Superintendent and IPS officer Harssh A Poddar requested Malegaonkar’s but it initially seemed to go into a vein. But later Harssh Poddar’s efforts led him to rescue all the five victims safely.
All five members of a family were falls under the suspicions of being child lifters and the angry mob was ready to lynch them. But, this was not the first time when Malegaon has shown a message of prosperity and peace. The entire incident was changed after the Malegaon SP Harssh A Poddar took a right decision and calm down the public.
Who is Malegaon SP, Harssh A Poddar?
Harssh Poddar is an IPS officer, completed his graduation in law from National University of Juridical Science (NUJS) in Kolkata. Since, Harssh Poddar was an extraordinary student and has a number of achievement in his kitty. After completing Law degree from Kolkata he got the scholarship from United Kingdom (UK) government for higher studies. Later, he completed his master in International Law from Balliol college of the University of Oxford.
Before coming to India, he had worked as a Corporate lawyer in London and settled for a while. But pursuit to do something better for own country made him quit his job. Harssh Poddar not only worked as a corporate lawyer in London but also had worked with several International Organisations such as WTO and United Nations (UN) as an intern.
Our Times Trends Malegaon Correspondence Omair Iqbal interviewed Mr. Harssh Poddar on the number of Issues that Malegaon has been facing and what better can be done for Malegaon. Mr. Harssh Poddar highlighted several points as he is a bureaucrat and serving in Malegaon as an Additional SP. Let’s take a look at few questions and Answers which was asked by Times Trends Correspondence Omair Iqbal.
Why Did you (Mr. Harssh Poddar) Leave the Country London when you got settled?
Ans: I had a clear vision ahead when I was studying Law in Kolkata. I always wanted to be a Public servant and when I was having my good time in London I realized unless or until you work with your own government its impossible for you to have an impact on a larger section of the society that I always wanted. And for that UPSC was an obvious choice for me. Though I started studying about UPSC Exam in London and cleared in the first attempt, I was selected for Indian Revenue Services (IRS). My first attempt gave me the inspiration to make it clear in the second attempt in 2013 securing 361 ranks and opted for Indian Police Services (IPS).
As you said Mr. Poddar you wanted to serve as a public servant so, serving as an IPS was your first Choice?
For the very first time when I had attempted to crack UPSC EXAM, I wanted to be a Foreign Service Officer. Since I have studied international law in London which made me easy to understand Indian Law and secure a good rank in fewer attempts. When I was selected for IPS, I thought this could be a better choice for me to work for larger people.
When and How You studied for UPSC EXAM which is considered to be one of the toughest Exam in India?
Initially, I used to prefer newspaper when I started UPSC preparation, later a friend of mine requested to get a note from one of Delhi’s coaching class, which is said to have a good material related to UPSC Exam. I studied for a prelim UPSC Exam in London but I took leave for the main examination. The only difficult phase I had gone through during my study time is my father died merely two months before my main UPSC exam. I got disturbed for a while, but my pursuit to become a Bureaucrate dominated and did not come as an obstacle to my dream.
If you are studying for UPSC EXAM the first and foremost thing you have to do is to take it seriously and never think what would be if I failed and start ignoring the perception such as UPSC EXAM is one if the toughest exam and I can’t crack. If you follow these things you have won 70 percent battle and remaining 30 you can easily win.
How can the reality of a career as a bureaucrate and in law enforcement differ from typical expectations?
Since, we are living in Maharashtra and its a home to Filmmakers and Tinseltown. Celebrities have impacts in Maharashtra politics. But, if we differ typical expectations from reality it’s far different then we watch on television and movies. In real life, we have to have a contact with good people and ignore the bad one.
But, one thing I want to clarify that, the image Politicians are being portrayed in silver screen is different. Not all the politicians are corrupted and involve in corruption charges, sometimes their demands are also legal.
“If we don’t respect elected representatives we are disrespecting our own democracy.” Says Harssh A Poddar IPS.
What ranks among the favorite achievements that you’ve completed in your career and How?
If you look at the data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Maharashtra comes at a second number where Juvenile conflict with the law in our country. Apart from this Maharashtra has a high ratio where young generation appears to have indulged in radicalization. With the support of our team, I had designed an idea and implemented in school and colleges to encourage the student to take part in interactions between the Police and student. You might be thinking this attempts may have gone in vain as it goes usually. But, in this case, the idea of inviting students to take part in an interaction Between Police and students seemed effective and slowly but steadily rolling in.
Harssh Poddar further says, ” You would not believe this noble idea has created 4200 young students against radicalization, Crime, and anti-terror activities in the span of just three years.
Harssh Poddar has a long list of achievement but we have shortlisted a few to let you know What Malegaon Police Superintendent IPS Officer Hassh Poddar achieved in his five long year tenure. When he was on a training in Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Academy, Mr. Poddar conducted a workshop for blind children.
What made this workshop’s format different from conventional ones was that the children were divided into small groups and asked to draft laws for the differently abled.
Harssh Poddar observed that with assistance and encouragement provided by IPS probationers, the children could be induced to examine the subject deeply and act as their own agencies. This learning remained with him even as he was deputed on his first posting in Maharashtra police.
And the same thought struck Harssh A Poddar a couple of years later when he was asked by Maharashtra’s DGP to suggest innovative policies that would effectively tackle juvenile delinquency in the state. His idea was accepted and thus began the Youth Parliament Championship.
When we qualify the exam we all have the same foundation training, when I was getting trained under our senior officers I was awarded as the Best officer. This was my initial achievement, later on, I got the Home Minister Trophy for Communal Harmony. I was also awarded for Best in Extracurricular activities, and felicitated by Maharashtra Chief Minister for Youth Parliament. Apart from these, Maharashtra CID has published a book on Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors in Financial Establishment act.
When I was supposed to transfer from Bijapur, on the very last day I got a news of Sadanand Ugale who had been awarded Scholarship from Imperial University in London for Studying Mathematics. This was the day when I felt proud and that story was one the most inspiring stories of my life.
When were you most satisfied with your job?
When I was in Kannad Taluka, there was a student named Sadanand Ugale, who had a dream like a kite in the sky but lacking in resources. He was a bright student and born to study in abroad and had the desire to study in London. when I was there I would keep him motivated for 18 long months while I was serving as DYSP in Bijapur. When I was supposed to transfer from Bijapur, on the very last day I got a news of Sadanand Ugale who had been awarded Scholarship from Imperial University in London for Studying Mathematics. This was the day when I felt proud and that story was one of the most inspiring stories of my life.
Sadanad Ugale made me realise if you aspire to become even A Grade officer you can because success doesn’t discriminate in poor or rich people. If we talk about the financial problem while studying for UPSC EXAM there is no doubt it is difficult for the people who is reeling under the financial problem. But if we take this reason in a positive way Poor knows better about our country than the rich people who live in posh societies and lives lavishly even they can’t even predict many things the way as poor does.
It’s been over a year, you have been in Malegaon What did you find about Malegaon Powerloom industry and what you have to say?
In Malegaon, I realised one thing Malegaon Powerloom industry is totally disorganised. As this Business is running for decades, it should be extended to a next level or get it registered with a private Ltd company. But, instead of extending our Business to the next level we are exactly doing the same things that our ancestors used to do. Malegaonkar should be considering to get their children enrolled in MBA, or Finance. Or instead of extending four units in Malegaon they should be extended one or two units in Gujarat or Bhiwandi.
What would you say About riots, Mob lynching, and violence that has been a topic of the town and What’s reason behind these?
If we talk about riots, no one can be benefited from this. Now people have become more sensitive when it comes to violence. Even Politicians know there is no way to create any untoward situation because they understood Politics has been shifted from Violence to Development. When it comes to Malegaon which is considered to be a communally sensitive city where a river divides into two categories one is Muslim majority and the other one in Hindu Majority. When he was asked How he has been tackling the issues smoothly as the city has a lo history of violent strife.
To ensure that irrefutable evidence was collected to identify and book unruly elements who incited the public, Harssh A Poddar Malegaon additional Police Superintendent also got CCTV cameras installed on a series of police vans around the city. However, while analysing the impact of these measures, he realised that most of these social disturbances were not spontaneous.
Unsurprisingly, all his efforts have borne rich fruits. For instance, when the country had been facing violence following the Bhima Koregaon Violence the city which had been under the supervision of Mr. Harssh Poddar remained peaceful and did not witness a single incidence of violence. After looking Harssh A Poddar’s strategy Maharashtra police considering to replicate his ideas in different parts of the country.
However, this is not the only reason for the immense respect Harssh commands in the inner circles of the state’s police force.
If we talk about the Malegaon City’s crime against women it has been reduced to 15 percent due to Malegaon Police’s proactive policing. But, Mr. Harssh Poddar did not seem to satisfy and had said, It should be further brought down.
Do you have metro cities fascination, where you want to get transferred, like Mumbai, Pune or Hometown Kolkata?
I don’t have a specific place in my mind but I enjoy working in different places. If you talk about metro cities, I don’t have any fascination for metro cities. I always like to work in a small city where the quality of life is far better than metro cities. I was born in Kolkata, which itself a metro city, and bought and studied in London hence I don’t have any fascination about working in metro cities.
How has the Internet or social media affected in law enforcement?
Nowadays social media has become a platform where nothing is hidden from the public and which makes us accountable. Since social media has evolved we in law enforcement take it as an advantage because it makes things transparent and open for all and there is less probability to hide any crime for a longer period. There are many disadvantages and drawback of social media but if we compare its good features or bad then good is dominant. I am not denying there were some incidents which were erupted due to a misleading, misinterpreting or rumors on social media but it could be curbed.
WhatsApp has earlier also announced a new feature wherein when a user forwards a message to someone it gives you an idea whether this message is forwarded or not. Now, WhatsApp has also restricted its user to forward messages to only five people at a time this may lead to identify forward messages.
Let our children teach everyone has equal rights and the best religion is to be a better citizen of our country.
Do you have any suggestion which may lead to reduce crime against women in India?
Yes, I have a suggestion and it is not much difficult because it can or must be started in our home. There are several problems the law enforcement has been reeling, one of them is a crime against women. But, if we look at the reason behind crime against women is lacking inthe better family environment. Rising our children in a better environment may lead us to get rid off from the crime against women. Let our children teach everyone has equal rights and the best religion is to be a better citizen of our country.
Why Senior Police officer are Committing Suicide, Is there any high- grade pressure on You (Police)?
No there is no pressure, but yes, it’s a demanding profession. We have to manage our vocation. Taking a leave for more than 5 days is difficult for us. But, as far as Police and any profession is concerned we should be enjoying. There are many senior officers committed suicide but I love my profession and enjoy every moment of my duty.
He was one of the most dynamic, Young and brave IPS officers that Malegaon has ever got. Mr. harssh Poddar has recently been transferred and Promoted as DCP in Nagpur. Mr Poddar will be replaced by Shri Neelotpal IPS, who is currently serving in Bhusawal Jalgaon District.
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