On November 11, the Mumbai police recruited 116 men from the fishermen’s community (kolis) as khalasis to guard the state’s coastline.
Though kolis have been hired on a contract basis in the past, this is the first time that they have been recruited on a permanent basis.
“After the 26/11 attacks, we have made substantial efforts to guard the coastline. The number of speed boats, vehicles and weaponry available with the Mumbai police have all seen an increase. Hence, there was obviously a need to hire khalasis,” said DCP Tanaji Gadhge, Port Zone.
Khalasis are officials trained with the Mumbai police to provide assistance on the coastline and on police boats. Their job varies from winding the boat ropes to helping the police patrols.
“We have given preference to kolis because they are inherently fishermen. They are well versed with the topography of the sea, have better knowledge about the waters, and are ace swimmers. Besides, they are passionate about the sea. This makes the job easier for them,” Gadhge added.