By P.T. Bopanna
I had the rare privilege of crossing the paths of two outstanding individuals, that too a father and son, in my journalistic career.
When I was covering the crime beat in the mid-1980s, P.G. Halarnkar (in picture) was the Bangalore city commissioner of police. Halarnkar who went on to become the Director-General of the CRPF, passed away recently.
I wish to make a few general observations about Halarnkar. He was a rare breed of police officer who kept political interference in policing to the minimum. He encouraged officers with merit to hold key positions. Some of his trusted officers were from Kodagu (Coorg). They included ‘Tiger’ Ashok Kumar and M.K. Ganapathy.
Being an active crime reporter who believed in spot reporting, my reports were not to the liking of the police officers. I covered the death of a rowdy, a resident of Palace Guttahalli, in police custody. It became a major issue in the Karnataka Assembly. This embarrassed the police.
That was the time when the Bangalore Police helmed by Halarnkar evolved a new strategy to tackle rowdyism as lock-up deaths were creating a lot of problems for the police.
Following the new strategy, notorious rowdies like Kotwal Ramachandra, M.P. Jayaraj, Boot House Kumar, were eliminated over the years. However, I do not want to speculate on the new strategy because I had stopped reporting on crime. Residents were relieved that the influence of the underworld dons was clipped.
When I was covering the Vidhana Soudha beat, I had the opportunity of meeting Halarnkar again when he was briefly appointed as advisor to the Governor during the President’s rule in Karnataka.
Halarnkar’s son Samar, was my junior colleague at Times of India, Bengaluru. Samar moved on to Delhi and joined the Hindustan Times where he held a senior editorial position. Samar had written a review of my book Rise and Fall of the Coorg State. Shared below the link to his article: