Star Of Mysore exclusive Dasara interview with City Top Cop: Ready to handle stress of ensuring law and order
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Star Of Mysore exclusive Dasara interview with City Top Cop: Ready to handle stress of ensuring law and order

October 9, 2023

Dasara, the eagerly awaited State festival is set to begin in a week. Given the scale of the festivities and the attention they garner, every aspect of planning, scheduling and management is elaborate and poses a significant challenge for the administration. Among the primary tasks, the maintenance of law and order is crucial and the responsibility for this lies with the City Police Commissioner. Star of Mysore sat down with the City’s Top Cop Ramesh Banoth to discuss the preparedness ahead of the festival. Excerpts. —Ed

By Shadan Muneer

Star of Mysore (SOM): Can you brief us about the measures taken to ensure  law and order for a hassle-free celebration?

B. Ramesh: Any major festivity brings with it numerous responsibilities and a meticulously prepared itinerary. There is a series of cultural events scheduled and we have devised a security plan for each programme. We will deploy the required staff based on the number of participants and the audience at specific events to ensure order.

We have over 2,500 personnel and during the festivities, we augment our strength with additional personnel from outside the district to manage law and order, crowd management, traffic and security. This year, we plan to have more women staff on duty as we expect 20 percent more women visitors.

SOM: Tourists from all over the country and the world are expected to visit Mysuru. How are you ensuring their safety?

Ramesh: We will set up 20 Police help desks covering all areas, where tourists can access information and assistance. They can also report any problems they face at these desks.

While providing exclusive protection for foreigners may not be possible unless they are categorised, we receive information about the number of foreign visitors through the Hotel Association.

We also proactively monitor and address issues like eve-teasing and pickpocketing. We anticipate these problems and plan accordingly.

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SOM: How many additional Policemen are being deployed during the festive season? Have any additional traffic control arrangements been made to handle increased traffic inflow and avoid untoward incidents?

Ramesh: According to our security plan, we will require an additional 3,000 Police officers from outside the district, in addition to our available 2,500 staff. Altogether, we will have around 5,500 Policemen responsible for maintaining law and order.

If the need arises, more staff can be brought in as required. Approximately 1,000 Policemen will be deployed to manage the additional traffic inflow and we will also designate certain areas as ‘No Vehicle Zones.’ Parking lots will also be designated.

SOM: The highlight is ‘Jumboo Savari.’ How do you manage traffic during rehearsals to ensure their safety?

Ramesh: For the security of elephants, we move alongside them with movable barricades and have personnel in between to manage traffic along the route. We use a magnetic metal screener attached to the escort vehicle in the front to screen for nails and other metal objects that could potentially harm the elephants. Traffic diversion is not typically necessary during these rehearsals; it is only done for the main Dasara procession.

SOM: What kind of enhanced security arrangements are made for the Dasara procession?

Ramesh: The procession route, from the Palace Gate to Bannimantap, will be barricaded on both sides. The entire route will be covered by CCTV cameras, surveillance and Police personnel. We notify the public about traffic diversions. Approximately 200 personnel, including officers and nominated members, will ensure security around the Ambari. This year, we are giving a traditional look to the Jumboo Savari by distributing traditional attire to those allowed in the vicinity of the Ambari. Normal crowds will not be permitted near the Ambari.

SOM: Mysuru is one of the few cities to have Mounted Police. Can you tell us about their role and contribution during Dasara?

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Ramesh: The association between the Mounted Police Company and Nada Habba dates back to the time of Wadiyars. It was later integrated into the Police force. The horses play a significant role from the beginning of the procession to the endpoint. The Mounted Police Company participates in various events including the Torchlight Parade. They also participate in various competitions and sporting events held across the country. We use them for patrolling even on regular days. It is more of a tradition to have Mounted Police during ceremonial functions. They also escort VIPs during the main programmes. Currently, we have about 60 horses, with 6 stationed in the Bengaluru Unit reserved for VVIP and VIP programmes.

SOM: What special arrangements are being made for VVIPs, VIPs and their convoys? How is this being monitored?

Ramesh: The Intelligence wing categorises security provisions and we work accordingly. Categorised individuals will be provided security based on categories such as ‘Z,’ ‘Z+,’ ‘Y,’ ‘X’ and so on. We also arrange for Personal Security Officers and escorts with pilots. We acquire additional vehicles and equipment, such as walkie-talkies and wireless sets. We are well-prepared and all arrangements are in place.

SOM: It’s also a stressful period for Police. How do you ensure physical and mental well-being of your officers?

Ramesh: Our staff is mentally prepared and trained to handle this responsibility. They eagerly look forward to their duties during the Dasara season and they take pride in being a part of it. Our senior officers interact with them and address their needs concerning duty deployment to ensure their comfort. Personnel coming from outside are provided with decent accommodation, timely meals and other basic requirements to ensure their well-being.

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