Even as platoons of uniformed policemen man the security in and around the MMRDA ground during Anna Hazare’s fast, a special group of policemen has been quietly handpicked by the Mumbai police top brass to keep tempers in check during the three-day long event.
These policemen share a personal rapport with the septuagenarian social activist, which will help scale down the pitch and calm the tempers of Anna’s supporters, in case things go out of hand.
Highly placed sources in the Mumbai police told HT on Tuesday that leading this special group would be two senior IPS officers, Vishwas Nangre Patil (additional commissioner of police, west region) and Himanshu Roy (joint commissioner of police, law and order). The two officers have been posted in the past as Superintendent of Police, Ahmadnagar (Anna’s home district), and have handled many of Anna’s agitations during these postings. “They have shared a personal rapport with Anna for many years. The department wants to use that rapport to contain any flare-up or untoward incident that may crop up,” sources said. “Remember, it will be a three-day long event and the dynamics of the agitation (or any agitation for that matter) changes from hour to hour as per the mood, tone and temper of the followers,” they added.
Incidentally, Anna’s programme at the MMRDA ground falls under Nangre Patil’s area of jurisdiction. The other members of the team (number not specified) include some senior inspectors, inspectors and even constables (all from Ahmadnagar district) who too share Unlike Anna’s agitations in Ramlila Ground in September this year, when the Delhi police had to depend on Team Anna to convey their message to the Gandhian leader, the Mumbai police team would have the distinct advantage of communicating directly with Anna. “Moreover, we have the distinct language (Marathi) advantage while communicating with Anna for a negotiation,” a member of the special team told HT.