Neelamani Raju becomes first woman to helm Karnataka’s police force
A 1983 IPS officer from Uttarakhand was on Tuesday named as the first woman to lead the police force in Karnataka.
State home minister R Ramalinga Reddy announced the appointment of Neelamani N Raju, 57, as the new director general and inspector general of police (DG-IGP), a post unique to Karnataka. In most states, the DGP is the top police post.
“Congratulations to Karnataka’s first woman DG-IGP Neelamani N Raju on her appointment. Wish her a successful tenure in the post,” chief minister Siddarmaiah tweeted later.
Raju is from Roorkee in the Himalayan state.
The senior-most officer in the state, Raju was in contention for the post along with DGP (CID) HC Kishore Chandra, a 1984-batch IPS officer from Karnataka.
The post fell vacanT after the superannuation of Rupak Kumar Dutta on Tuesday.
Raju takes over with barely six months to go for the assembly elections, scheduled for May.
Addressing the media, Raju, who has spent 23 years on central deputation, said the post was a great honour.
“I think it is a great responsibility and honour to be selected for this post,” she said. “Karnataka is a well managed state and has a good police organisation.”
Raju’s first test will be on November 10 when state celebrates Tipu Jayanti, the birth anniversary of the 18th century ruler of Mysore, Tipu Sultan, described by the Hindu-right wing as a tyrant.
The celebrations has been a tense since it began in 2015, with violence erupting in Kodagu district that year.
Raju said it was a big challenge “but plans are afoot to ensure that it is conducted peacefully”.
Karnataka also has relatively low conviction rate of 38%, according to the National Crime Records Bureau’s Crime in India 2015 report.
Raju said this was something she would want to change. “However, conviction rates are not just based on the police system, although there is a lot that can be improved,” she said.
Speaking on the need to increase gender diversity in the police force, Raju said when she came to the state in 1985 there were only three women officers, including her.
“There has been a lot of change, but definitely a lot more has to change because I want the police to be friendly with all citizens,” she added.