Team Optimist speaks to Rashid Munir Khan, superintendent of police, Baruipur, South 24-Parganas. And he shares with us his eventful journey…
Team Optimist: How did you prepare for an IPS officer’s post — a dream position of one million job aspirants who apply for the exam?
Rashid M Khan: Actually, it was my dream since childhood, too, to be a part of the men in uniform. My rank was quite high and I got selected for IAS, but I opted for IPS. So, I got what I wanted.
Team Optimist: Recently, you successfully unearthed an illegal arms factory and recovered huge amounts of arms and ammunition. In the past, too, you’ve shown such expertise. Under your supervision, the Baruipur police have witnessed exemplary policing. What are your strategies and what do you have to say about your performance?
Rashid M Khan: The South 24-Parganas are a crime-prone area. And, after joining, I noticed a lot of criminal activities going on and too many cases pending. I started work with my own intelligence network. And we were successful in busting five illegal arms factories and recovering over 250 weapons and materials to manufacture them.
Team Optimist: West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharastra and Odisha are sources of human trafficking in India. According to the Indian Country Assessment Report, 2013, on anti-human trafficking brought out by UNODC, sexual exploitation for prostitution was the 2nd major purpose of human trafficking in 2016 in India after forced labour. We know that the Swayangsiddha initiative has been taken up. Can you elaborate on that and how it works?
Rashid M Khan: I go through reports daily. And, sadly, lots of girls are kidnapped or run away from home — sometimes with their boyfriends. They’re misguided and most are minors. When I started working on this, I started looking into old cases. I found many girls missing. I formed a dedicated team with the DSP and my IC women police as part of that unit and I supervise it. We started a programme. For that, we collected data on the missing girls and talked to their families. So, 26 cases of missing girls were lodged and of those 19 girls were solved.
One girl was recovered from Rajasthan, where she got trafficked in 2014. She was then sold to Jammu and Kashmir for just Rs5,000. Then, again, she was sold in Delhi. She was at GB Road for some time when she was 15. A man from Rajasthan bought her and took her there and the whole family exploited her. She got pregnant and has a child, too. We got to know she was in Rajasthan and sent a team there and, finally, recovered her. She’s now in Baruipur.
Besides that, a few days ago, I started a community development programme on trafficking of girls. We’ve involved more than 30 NGOs and the Bangladesh High Commissioner was also there. We had a two-day seminar, where we emphasised that trafficking of girls, child marriage and child abuses must stop and girls who have been trafficked should be brought back. We should begin a process and, for that, we’re getting help from many NGOs. There’s IGM and Swayangsiddha, too. We’re working and I hope we’ll be successful.
Team Optimist: Safe driving is essential. Every day, innumerable lives are lost because of irresponsible driving. The Bengal government has launched a campaign,‘Safe Drive, Save Life, to inculcate a sense of responsible road behaviour among people. How does the South 24-Parganas district police force sensitise people?
Rashid M Khan: This project was started in 2016. It was initiated by our CM. It’s a very good project and entire Bengal police are involved in it, even the administration. I’m carrying on that process. We hold community programmes and involve students, too. We’ve distributed helmets to children because we’ve seen parents wearing helmets, but children on bikes don’t wear them. We took up the initiative and distributed over 200 helmets. It’s very important to know that, if parents wear helmets, children, too, should wear helmets.
Besides, we also emphasise ‘Save Water’ and ‘Tree Plantation’ drives. We’re going to schools and sensitising children. We’re spreading messages like gifting plants for birthdays so that a birthday boy or girl can plant a tree and save the environment. We’re holding many programmes and my traffic and thana police are also involved in them. We take the help of many NGOs and local stakeholders.
Team Optimist: How do you manage to keep healthy and fit in this busy schedule? According to the 2011 census, our country has 563 million youngsters. What do you want to tell our youth about health and fitness?
Rashid M Khan: I’m a fitness freak. In Bengal, you’ll see many IPS officers doing something or the other to keep fit. I’m one of them. My main concern is that your tummy shouldn’t protrude. I believe that, if you’re not fit, you can’t ask your subordinates to be so. Hence, I give myself 40 to 45 minutes daily for running and gym-ming to keep myself fit. And to keep fit, one also has to maintain a diet.
Team Optimist: What new measures are the police forces rolling out to curb crimes?
Rashid M Khan: My type of policing is totally different. I involve the community and the common people. Prasasan apke dwaar. We’re going to the public and hosting programmes. We’re also keeping track of every criminal present in the district so that we can minimise crimes.
Team Optimist: How do you plan to stop the rising instances of cyber crimes?
Rashid M Khan: Recently, our Bengal government announced a cyber police station in each district. There’s an inspector and an O-C. If we get an FIR, we immediately take action.
A few days ago, we arrested a person. He was using other people’s accounts to post obscene comments. Initially, we arrested the person from whose account the comments were being posted. But, after interrogating him, we found out he was not the actual person. We investigated and arrested the main culprit and forwarded the case to the court.
It’s time to concentrate on cybercrimes. Everybody has a smartphone and a lot of criminals indulge in cybercrimes nowadays. We’re also sensitising people about bank frauds. We ask them not to disclose their identity, such as PAN number, except to the bank authorities.