Wednesday, June 29, 2011

An Activist Police

Amitabh Thakur {now only Amitabh} exudes courage and integrity-a mechanical engineer from IIT Kanpur, who left the chance to join Indian Revenue Service/IRS in 1991 for a challenging career in Indian Police Service next year . Presently pursuing fellowship programme in management from IIM Lucknow, this UP Cadre IPS officer is also a co-author of book on entrepreneurship, The Fresh Brew…besides that he is also serving as President with National RTI Forum, which was founded by him with doubtless commitment for transparency in public life. Like a true activist police, he is quite sanguine about the glimmering Right to Information…both as administrator and an activist, he sees RTI as empowering tool for governance. Recently we had a substantial talk in Delhi which finally appearing here as interview…

Q: - You joined IPS in 1992, and then your choice was as transient as was the economy of India. With an IIT degree in hand, why you only aspired for IPS?
A: - It was a tough decision to go against the stream but my aspirations were strong…my first choice was to join IAS, which didn’t materialize, so I opted for my second dream-IPS. These two services give the proper opportunity to assimilate with peoples and to be proactive part of machinery.

Q: - You were never a camp follower and always defied the aegis of protection, likes of caste, religion or any other hide bound categorization-how you with fallouts?
A: - Until I joined IPS in 1992, I was largely unaware about the actual equation on which systemic function rests…later I came to know how even the battered parochial views could be thrive under the strength of cronyism and influence the entire machinery. A duty bound officer like me who runs without any sanctum faces many hurdles from opposite camps with vested interest to make the system vulnerable. During initial years of my service in eastern UP, I had to confront many such grim political pressures but outgrowing the intermittent adversities, I saved my integrity.

Q: - What’s your view on Police-peoples interface and overall reform in Policy system?
A: - I support maximum participation of peoples in maintaining law& order…there must be use of local wisdom and expertise in any form of governance. So, interface is essential…yes, Police reform is the need of hour. It should be start from introducing new human resource policy and adoption of technology from the basic to top level in Police system. That will be a moral boosting exercise.

Q: - How you stepped in RTI Movement despite serving in bureaucracy?
A: - It was little bit unusual but not completely as sizable number among government officials including those who are in police have positive thinking about RTI. A fair official has nothing to afraid from RTI which is a gateway of transparency and lastly an important factor for good governance. Remarkably, RTI has enhanced the honest official’s confidence and reputation which was impossible through any other means. After gathering the inside perspectives of administration and realizing hassle of official procedures, I decided to back this movement by joining a voluntary position of President, National RTI Forum, Lucknow.

Q: - Do you think CBI should be come under the RTI Act?
A: - Yes, it will make overarching effects in other areas too that may finally enhance the people’s perception for these offices of last resort. I don’t think it may be taken as facile opinion to introduce RTI at most of places, only excluding those falls under the strategic area.

Q: - RTI Activists are frequently under the attacks that to an extant diminishing the calibrated part of activism, how you first think as an activist and later Police?
A: - It’s indeed a big concern…as an activist; it seems me like cruelty against the evangelists of fair governance. As a Police, I think it should be deal as law & order problem…once law will take it course, such terrible incidents will be sure come down.

Q: - You spent around two decades as an IPS in UP, tell us the upshot of caste politics in state which initially spread under the pseudo cover of social justice?
A: - What happened in UP in last two decades in the name of caste is shocking and frustrating. Once the nerve of central politics has diminished to merely shadow of its past…law &order is lagging behind here in absence of professional work ethics and enormous political pressure. The most worrying thing is the caste being used as means of exploitation…natural merit has no place here before the status of natural birth in a categorized caste.
Q: - Enforcement of law is essence of Policing but the state of prison is an area which is completely bereft from it, what you will suggest for reform?
A: - Speedy trial and reformist treatment with prisoners will make the positive difference besides the jail inmates should be allowed to be productive inside the define territory. If someone wants to pursue education, let him/her allow to doing …it’s nice to see many such examples in Tihar jail and even in some of smaller jails. A change can take place in human, even after the conviction of crime…that must be taken as a welcome possibility by the prison authorities and also judiciary. For these behavioural changes, we don’t have to look outside; the inspiration of Gandhi and Vinoba Bhave are quite conducive for infusing humane touch with prisoners.

Q: - There is common apathy for the bottom level of Policing, which is the biggest dent on entire Police system…what’s your take on these serious flaws of governance?
A: - Lack of professional ethics is a big concern which creates such embarrassing practices and that must be checked by the standardized rules instead of sheer upper hand action from hierarchy. At any cost, lapidary approaches have to overtake the sordid practices…with addition of ethics; technology will bring a tectonic shift in Indian Policing. Having the great IT capacity, it’s not very hard to materialize in India…whereby acronyms POLICE will justify its real meaning for all.
Q: - I hope you will subsume many issues for the sake of fair governance in Policing and will also keep holding the baton of RTI…
A: - I have been striving for the betterment of Policing and will be keep doing so…RTI activism will be also progress and I am sure days ahead are going to be very participative and full of enthusiasm for a fair and transparent governance.
Atul Kumar Thakur
June 29, 2011, Wednesday, New Delhi


  1. Nice reading the interview with an incorrigible optimist within the administration-Ashutosh Thakur

  2. Very-very lively interview-Sumit Ganguly

  3. we need to support and encourage officers like amitabh thakur..Madhurendra,New Delhi{Journalist}

  4. This interview will definitely change the mindset of common public against the bureaucracy and police functioning and police - Dinesh Tripathi

  5. What exactly did Amitabh achieve after joining the police and what is the view point being conveyed by him through a response that simply a pitot high faulting words strung together?

    This interview at best is pre-mature hagiography. President of National RTI ? Seriosuly? What did it achieve?

  6. In general, every IITKian who has spent some years at IITK in any responsible position ,including studentship gets reborn as a BELIEVER IN TRANSPARENCY and hence FEARLESS.
    He/she is different from other IITians too.

    Mr Amitabh have been lucky too to some extent, in getting opportunities to apply his mind fully to the job . As the saying goes behind every successful man lies woman toio-may be true in Amitabhs case too. MY Blessings nad BEST WISHES.,
    Prof M K Muju
    RETD Prof IITK(M E)

  7. Your action in bhubaneswar, as i know of you was more courageous than your voice. Well you are not a politician. As a gentleman your interview was good.My best wishes to you,wherever you are and whatever you do , in which ever capacity and in whichever field. Honesty brings trust even with the unknowns .
    Er lalit Mohan Pattnaik, Bhubaneswar

  8. A plain interview..nothing to gather from it. Moreover, Amitabh's view on caste proves that mere dropping of the surname 'Thakur' doesn't change the mindset..He say's " The most worrying thing is the caste being used as means of exploitation…natural merit has no place here before the status of natural birth in a categorized caste."..he comfortably forgets that the same caste has been and is being used as a means of exploitation even today by the upper castes..and through out history natural merit has never found any place in India before the birth in a brahmanised caste..
    Milind Bhawar

  9. Enormous political pressure & caste being used as means of exploitation are known curses of Indian democracy...the point is to throw solutions and keep throwing them at every forum so that the weight of the arguments creates pressure in the system for their implementation ...professional work ethics, use of technology, RTI activism all needed to be pressed VERY VERY HARD. You have moved on all these fronts...keep up the good work...relentlessly.

  10. Very encouraging and forthright views on issues related to public administration and society.Unless the two complement each other through a system of continuous free and open interactions the system will not e able to deliver what it is supposed to and created and installed to deliver.As far as I can see there is no perspective plan to redesign and orient the administrative infrastructure including the law maintenance subsystem to cater to the needs of society in the incoming Knowledge Era .
    I really feel very proud about you and your achievements in spite of all the handicaps and roadblocks .Others similarly placed would have left long time back .
    I am sure your patience and continuous missionary devotion will soon bring fruition and help in initiating a process reformulating its role and its operating procedures etc

  11. Its a good one. It must be a confronting exercise for you all the time while being a Police Office on one hand and being a RTI activist on the other and fighting for others rights while being in the system. Keep going.. You will go back to India as a much reformed Police Officer and Human Being.. Abhishek Saket

  12. very sound & interesting one-Ajay Tiwari

  13. Very admiring ...Sanjay K Ravi

  14. Well Public's co operation is must for effective policing, educated people must dare n come forward to support higher level officers in administration.At bottom level we all r aware how a Police Station functions , if IO's are strengthened & empowered by IT Trainings it will make policing functions more transparent at Dvision Level which will yeild positive result, infrastructure support ...Sumeet Dhawan

  15. Sir, it will change the perception of common people how they see police in uniform. People having the mindset of police person being an alien, the fear in the mind should go. I guess fear is the main issue, it makes them more nervous, and n...ervous mind is the mother of all trouble and wrong doing. Eventually if we deal with cool minded with soft approach i guess the machinery will be more effective. Rather then being harsh and strict, someetimes softness in approach works. You interview was really an outstanding and I admire you for that . Pranam..Dinesh Tripathi

  16. Nice reading the interview..outstanding..Prashant Mishra

  17. A very positive talk directed in favour of common peoples..this is the face we all like to see of police/Arun Kumar Jha

  18. A man with an iron determination fighting with the system,he belongs.Good to see officer now realizes change is imminent and technology in policing is need of the hour.
    We need these kind of progressive officers in system.
    I salute!!

  19. Dear Mr. Thakur,

    You have an impeccable record of serving IPS.You served the IPS during a very very tough period and tough area by all counts. I would like you to continue with IPS even after you complete your fellowship from IIM. An upright officer like you would make hell of differences by continuing with the cadre with reinvigorated management skills.
    Regards,Manoj Pandey/ Mumbai/M-9820494079

  20. Read a few posts. Liked the interview of Amitav Thakur. Regards..Malay Roychoudhury