Hyderabad: People-friendly policing is a concept that is fast catching up across the world. But for Hyderabad, the way for such policing was shown nearly a century ago, by one of the most famous Police Commissioners of the city, Raja Bahadur Venkata Rama Reddy.
Reddy became the Kotwal of Hyderabad in 1920, following the death of Nawab Imadath Jung Bahadur. He remained at the helm for 14 years till his retirement in 1934.
Reddy’s approach to policing was in many senses the pioneering model for people-friendly policing, which has been in vogue in the city that is now gearing up to remember him on the occasion of his 150th birth anniversary at his statue at Narayanguda on Thursday. City Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar will present the best police officer award, instituted in the memory of Reddy, to officers from Hyderabad and Cyberabad during a meeting on Thursday.
Venkata Rama Reddy, who was born in a peasant family at Rayanpet, a village in the Wanaparthy Samasthan of the erstwhile Hyderabad State, was elevated from police sub-inspector (Amin) level to Kotwal, the second most powerful officer in those days.
Retired Additional Superintendent of Police Peddireddy Thirupathi Reddy, who has extensively studied the life and achievements of Venkata Rama Reddy, said several effective changes were introduced in the Police Department to improve its functional efficiency from 1920.
According to Thirupathi Reddy, it was due to Venkata Rama Reddy’s efforts that Hyderabad became one of the best policed cities. He introduced the unique ‘Naka” system by which policemen were in touch with citizens, ensuring a watchful but friendly police presence.
A systematic and thorough information system and specialized investigation skills were encouraged and developed. If any incident occurred, even at midnight, he was consulted on phone before action was initiated. Thus he imposed on himself almost a round-the-clock schedule, something of an exception in the State’s officialdom. He also successfully fought for the introduction of the time-scale of salary for the police force.
When Venkata Rama Reddy was young, he found a mentor in AC Hankin, the first Director General of Police of Hyderabad State, under whom he served for almost 22 years, rising to the rank of DSP in charge of Atraf-e Balda or the city suburbs.
Kind and just official
During this tenure, Venkata Rama Reddy built up on his reputation as a just and honourable officer, kind to the populace, always helpful to the needy, yet stern in putting down any dissent or disturbance against the state and monarchy.
His exemplary tact in diffusing the gravest of crises as in the case of the attack on the Residency Court and the firmness with which he contained the non-cooperation and Khilafat movements, earned him the gratitude of the Nizam who conferred on him the title of Raja Bahadur.
His tenure as Kotwal remains unparalleled to date in terms of maintaining law and order without undue use of harsh measures in enforcement.