H.R. Kasturirangan, IPS, who gave a new dimension to policing in Mysuru
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H.R. Kasturirangan, IPS, who gave a new dimension to policing in Mysuru

May 16, 2022

By S.B. Devaraj

Mysore/Mysuru: Three decades ago, criminals and anti-social elements in Mysuru dreaded the name of IPS Officer H.R. Kasturirangan, when he was the Mysuru City Police Commissioner. People remember his efforts in maintaining of Law and Order and safety of citizens.

Even in the middle of the night he used to pick up his phone in just one ring and used to say, “Kasturirangan”. This utterance was reassuring to many people who were in distress.

Kasturirangan served as City Police Commissioner from Dec. 28, 1992 to May 6, 1995. Here are some of the initiatives taken by him when he was the Police Commissioner.

Traffic signal at K.R. Circle

Despite stiff opposition by traders and other businessmen, Kasturirangan went ahead with his plans for installation of traffic signal lights at K.R. Circle in the heart of the city, where there is heavy density of traffic.

Strongly opposing the move, the trading community had petitioned the then Chief Minister Dr. M. Veerappa Moily seeking a halt to traffic signal installation, as they believed that the signal light and disallowing vehicle parking around the K.R. Circle  would hurt their business. They had also submitted a memorandum to the then District Minister A.H. Vishwanath against the move.

Later, Dr. Moily summoned Kasturirangan and questioned him on the installation of traffic signals at K.R. Circle. Defending the move saying that the traffic signal was absolutely necessary for proper regulation of traffic and also in the interests of safety of citizens and pedestrians, the IPS Officer succeeded in convincing the CM on the need for traffic signal at                                K.R. Circle junction.

Upset with the idea of traffic signal, the trading community knocked on the doors of the High Court. Then, Kasturirangan asked his subordinates to prepare a comprehensive report on the necessity of installing traffic signal lights and banning vehicle parking at                                                        the Circle.

After getting the report, he sent it to the then Advocate General Santosh Hegde (who later became a Supreme Court Judge and Karnataka Lokayukta), following which Justice Hegde, based on the report, argued on behalf of Mysuru Police. The High Court, convinced by the arguments of Justice Hegde, gave nod for installation of traffic signals and ban on vehicle parking at K.R. Circle.

Further, Kasturirangan banned all types of demonstrations and protests at K.R. Circle, which till then, had become a ‘permanent centre’ for staging of protests. As the protests continued at the venue despite the ban, he served notices to his subordinates questioning them on their failure to implement the ban order.

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Anti-Rowdy Squad

In the 1990s, rowdy culture that was very much active in  Bengaluru, seemed to enter even Mysuru, when Kasturirangan in a bid to end the menace, formed an Anti-Rowdy Squad to curb unruly and anti-social elements who were thriving then.

The attack on two Policemen on duty near a theatre on Chamaraja Double Road, further prompted him to strengthen the Anti-Rowdy Squad, following which the then Police Officer K.S. Thammaiah (now late) was asked to lead the Squad which comprised Inspectors Puttaswamygowda and T.K. Dharmesh.

Acting under the directions of the Police Commissioner, the Squad was successful in rooting out rowdyism in Mysuru to a large extent by the time Kasturirangan was transferred.

Crime review meetings on Tuesdays

Kasturirangan was probably the first Police Commissioner to hold regular meetings with Police Inspectors of all Police Stations to tackle crimes and their detection. The meeting commonly used to take place on Tuesdays and when such meetings were underway, no one was allowed to meet him. During  weekly crime review meetings,  Kasturirangan used to set a deadline for detection   of cases.

Sharing his experience, a retired Police Officer said that Kasturirangan, an honest, able and a very effective Police Commissioner that he was, did not tolerate any lies or pretexts that were told by his subordinates when it came to prevention and detection of crimes and maintenance of Law and Order. Such was his commitment to duty that Kasturirangan called up a Police Inspector and asked him about his location, when he said that he was very much in the Police Station. After some time, he called him up again and questioned him where he was. Then also, the Inspector gave the same reply saying that he was in the Police Station.

Doubtful of the Inspector’s reply, Kasturirangan went to the Police Station to have a check and his doubt became real when the Inspector was not found there. Soon he called the Inspector again to say that he (Kasturirangan) was in the Police Station.

Shocked by the visit of the Commissioner, the Inspector rushed to his Police Station and stood before him with a sense of guilt. Questioning the Inspector on why he lied, Kasturirangan told him that he would not tolerate such lies and careless attitude and warned him of disciplinary action if he does not correct himself, according to the former Police Officer.

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In yet another example of his commitment to Police service, Kasturirangan did not forget his duty even when on leave. He had installed a Wireless facility in his personal Fiat car, which he used for interacting with his subordinates from wherever he was. He used to give regular  tips to Police Officers on tackling crimes and maintenance of Law and Order. As he was in constant touch with his subordinates, maintenance of Law and Order was very good and the crime graph too had come down drastically, according to Police Officers who served                             under him.

Kasturirangan was transferred to the Vigilance Cell of the then KEB, where too he showed his efficiency by putting an end to power thefts. He also accompanied the KEB staff for  installation of meters at a time when it had become common to drive away KEB staff whenever they visited —  homes, villages or other places — for installation of energy meters. Kasturirangan was instrumental in collecting Rs.30 lakh as penalty from power theft accused.

Early days

As regards his career, Kasturirangan began his profession as Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) at Bengaluru, where he rooted out prostitution which was rampant then. He later served as Bhalki Dy.SP in Bidar district and Dakshina Kannada SP, where too he was a terror to anti-social elements, criminals and other offenders.

Kasturirangan hailed from Hulikal in Arakalgud taluk of Hassan district where he has renovated the centuries-old Lakshminarasimhaswamy temple. Even after retirement from service, Kasturirangan has continued his work for society by forming a Horticultural Produce Processing Co-operative Society at his native village, which he continues to head even today.

Having concern for the farming community, Kasturirangan has established an Agricultural Credit Co-operative Society at Hulikal and an Arecanut Marketing Co-operative Society at Shivamogga.

In recognition of his service as a Police Officer, Kasturirangan was conferred the Chief Minister’s Gold Medal in 1983 and  the President’s Medal in 1988 and 1999.  He was honoured by the Karnataka Government with the Rajyotsava Award in 2020.

Today, he was  honoured by Police personnel, who served under him at Mysuru  in 1993-94 at a programme held at Police Bhavan on Lalitha Mahal Road. The  then DCPs of Mysuru, Ulfat Hussain and Dr. Satish, son of late DCP Keshavaiah too were honoured on the occasion.

7 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “H.R. Kasturirangan, IPS, who gave a new dimension to policing in Mysuru”

  1. Prakash.R says:

    One of the most efficient and effective police officers Karnataka has ever known.

  2. koppal boregowda says:

    Political interference means, and massive corruption in the police force means, police commissioners in India are just the slaves of politicians.

  3. Bhamy V Shenoy says:

    Appreciation to SOM for publishing an article outlining his outstanding qualities. As an MGP activist, I want to add one more quality which his successors have not been able to adapt. You had stated how he was avaable at all hours. Similarly he found time to interact with the activists not only in his office, but also at MGP office. To my memory, he may be only Police Commissioner who has participated in a meeting organized by MGP. Some agree to attend and then send a lower level official who cannot take any decision and who may not have a chance to convey what public might have communicated. Those activists who were fortunate to interact with him, often give his examples.

  4. Premraaj Ramachandran says:

    Sri HR Kasturirangan IPS, was my father’s colleague and close friend before joining police force at Institute of Aviation Medicine Bangalore. My father always , remembered him and used to tell us how he achieved his goal and was an exemplary example to youth. My respects to the wonderful amazing person .

  5. Jagadish B N says:

    Hats off to this great gentleman officer….

  6. Satarawalla says:

    Hello Barmy Shenoy
    Could you enlighten us-the SOM readers, what your MGP has achieved, besides being a mere talk shop?

  7. q says:

    @Ramachandran
    “Sri HR Kasturirangan IPS, was my father’s colleague and close friend before joining police force at Institute of Aviation Medicine Bangalore”
    Should it read: Sri HR Kasturirangan IPS, was my father’s colleague and close friend at Institute of Aviation Medicine Bangalore, before joining police force ?
    Ask @Nikhil, the resident genius who has posted really a very brainy post!

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