“I have a special emotional attachment to people of the North East”, says IPS Sunil Kumar Gautam. Presently holding post of Special Commissioner incharge of the Special Police Unit for North Eastern Region (SPUNER) and Special Police Unit for Women & Children (SPUWAC) in Delhi Police, Gautam is an AGMUT cadre IPS officer of 1989 batch. He had previously served as Special Commissioner Anti-Corruption Branch with Govt of Delhi, as also as DG Police of Puducherry among other top jobs. On the non- policing side too Gautam has left his mark in several areas, especially as a writer. His outstanding writing of the constitution in poetic form, ‘Samvidhan Kavya’ won him the Govind Ballabh Pant award of 2018-19 from Bureau of Police Research & Development (MHA) which was awarded to him by Union Home Minister Amit Shah himself.
Gautam’s soft corner for North East comes majorly from a two and half year stint in Arunachal Pradesh as Assistant Inspector General (Administration) and Superintendent of Police (Communications).
“ I have very fond memories of Arunachal Pradesh”, Gautam does not need prodding to go down the memory lane with a smile. “The scenery all around in Arunachal Pradesh, is paradisical. Truly the land of the rising sun. People are simple, very warm. I loved the road travels across the state, especially to Tawang and Bomdilla from Itanagar where I was posted. Little children would stand on the streets and wave to us. It shows how friendly and welcoming they are to the police and to outsiders”, he reminiscences, adding that “the culture of the state is out of the world, very unique, colourful and vibrant. Almost everyone can sing beautifully and they sing Hindi songs absolutely perfectly, better than many of us North Indian people. Otherwise also, Arunachalis are very nationalistic people. They greet others with a Jai Hind. I would say the years spent in Arunachal Pradesh were among the memorable periods of my life.”
Stationed in the National Capital now, Gautam says that the SPUNER unit formed on 14th February, 2014, is one of the best things that could have happened for the lakhs of North Eastern boys and girls who have come over to Delhi, mostly to study or work. “Some unfortunate incidences had happened in the past. We don’t want to go over them, but we want to prevent any repetition. We want the North East people living in Delhi, as well as others, to be safe and secure. The SPUNER unit is a special unit to ascertain welfare and safety of North East people and people of Ladakh and Darjeeling. The work of the unit is focused towards them. We have police personnel working 24 x7 for them. We have a helpline – 1093, which is functional round the clock. North East people can call the helpline anytime, for any need, and help would be provided to them. Then there is the general control room number 112, where anyone can call whenever in need of police help. Our North Eastern men and women living in the National Capital can call here also. They can also visit the SPUNER office at Nanakpura, Moti Bagh. We have a very proactive nodal officer. Currently Mr Hibu Tamang, Joint Commissioner, is holding the post. He belongs to Arunachal Pradesh.
Additionally there are many youth from various states of the North East working in the SPUNER unit, as well as posted in other police stations spanning all districts of Delhi. They were recruited under special drives of Delhi Police”, Gautam says.
Would there be more such North East specific recruitment drives of Delhi Police?’, one wants to know.
“As of now there is no such plan. But Delhi Police conducts recruitment drives regularly which are open to youth from all over India. Youth from North East are welcome to take part in these drives and take advantage of special quota as applicable. There are certain relaxations of qualifications which are applicable to North East youth. I want more and more youth from the North East to join Delhi Police”, Gautam answers.
Talking about other supportive measures for North East people in Delhi provided by Delhi Police, Special CP Gautam mentions about empaneling volunteers from each state of North East to work as Delhi Police North East Representatives (DPNERs) to function as bridge between Delhi Police and people of their respective North Eastern communities, empaneling lawyers to provide free legal help to North East people in need, sensitization of police force towards North East people, and a plethora of humanitarian works like holding medical camps, aiding in getting voter ID cards, getting discounts from over 50 select hospitals etc. These apart, the SPUNER unit has special dedicated vehicles to rush help to North East people in need. SPUNER personnel also conduct patrolling in neighbourhoods which have good majority of North East people.
Apart from SPUNER, Special CP Gautam is also incharge of SPUWAC. As such he is instrumental in starting a presently ongoing yeoman programme of Delhi Police’s karate trained lady personnel imparting training to girl students of over 1000 schools free of cost. Recently over 650 lady PT teachers of various schools across Delhi were given training in self defence with the aim that they in turn train the girls of their respective schools. “The idea is to make our girls strong, self sufficient and confident. Police cannot be everywhere. We are trying to make our girls strong to face adversities, learn how to defend themselves if God forbid any need arises, how to ward off general eve teasing”, Gautam says, adding that at the same time Delhi Police is also organizing gender sensitization programmes for boys in various schools. The idea behind this is to make the young male population of the National Capital more sensitive towards the opposite sex, so that they refrain from ill behaviour towards women, and also stand up against any form of harassment. “I invite our North Eastern boys and girls living in Delhi to join this campaign. Also if there are any institutes giving self defence training they can contact us, join hands with Delhi Police and help in this endeavour”, Gautam signs off.
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