Suresh Khopade has convinced the People’s Republic of China to give peace a chance.
In 1988, Khopade introduced the idea of the Mohalla Peace Committee to Mumbai, when he set up the first committee in then riot-ravaged Bhiwandi, as its deputy commissioner of police.
The Mohalla Committee model proved so effective that Bhiwandi didn’t see a single case of civil violence when the rest of Mumbai burned in the riots following the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992. The Mumbai Police have since helped set up numerous Mohalla (which means neighbourhood in Hindi) Committees across the city.
Now Special Inspector General of Police, Maharashtra, Suresh Khopade put the learnings from his Mohalla Committee work into a paper called, “Bhiwandi and North Region Mumbai experiment.”
And this paper was voted best out of entries from 12 countries, including the US, Korea, Japan, Mexico and South Africa, at “Responding to the Financial Crisis and Building Harmonious Communities”, a conference held in the Chongqing province in October.
So it turns out, an Indian law enforcement officer, hardboiled by years of policing Mumbai’s volatile back alleys, convinced iron-fist China that there’s a better alternative to the idea of physical force.
“The Chinese are also concerned about the growing number of radical Islamic groups, and are keen to replicate the Mohalla idea,” said Khopade. “I also showed them how they can customise it to their needs,” he said, explaining how it will be implemented based on population density, topography, social, cultural and economic make-up.