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Pre Meeting Letter 2/2/22 to Mr Kamal Pant, Police Commr

2nd Feb 2022

Mr. Kamal Pant

Police Commissioner

Infantry Road

Bangalore 560001

Dear Kamal:

Hope you are better now. The last two pandemic years have really put a lot of burden on senior govt officers like you who still must have to run the city as well law & order regardless - I can imagine the kind of efforts & focus needed. You would be aware that I have been trying to get a call or meeting with you since you took over as police commissioner in 2020, but I do understand you have been under a lot of pressure. I hope you know that we as your citizen partners are also always here to support you. We are keen on showcasing that our city is not only one of the brightest in India but most safe, compassionate, and protective - as is our Bangalore police force. Let’s partner on that!

Kamal, as a devoted pet parent, I know how much you care for dogs, as well as how compassionate you are on these and more macro issues. This gives me the courage and initiative to put forth my views. Few points to cover in our meeting today:

1. The previous letter which I had shared on Jan 2020, needs urgent actioning. Animal welfare, cruelty cases, breeding, pet shop, manja , feeder and other such issues are rising, and we need to set up a better structure and process to manage this . Otherwise, we have an ad hoc response, reinvention of the wheel and confusingly different standards across all stations. These not only put pressure on already stretched police functioning & responsiveness but also move away from outcomes. While I can completely understand the focus in primarily on human law & order issues, but this also needs attention and a smart templatized approach. Most of the progressive cities in India already have this in place, but Bangalore must move ahead quickly to be equitable and catch up.

2. The Police Commissioner must make a strong, unequivocal statement that no animal cruelty allowed nor breaking of AWBI guidelines will be tolerated. This leadership stance is critical to send out the messaging we so badly need.

3. Cities like Mumbai, Thane and Delhi have an ACP level person who is also deputed to animal welfare issues. This has worked very well as they are the Point of Contact not only with animal lovers but within the police stations. They drive with the DCP Administration, the training and Animal Welfare awareness.

4. There are a few small & simple Animal Welfare PR initiatives I want to suggest that will make the police force seem accessible and compassionate as they already are. An example most police stations already have a dog or two, who are quite beloved in the station and community around. I thought we could play on the name & hashtag them #Coppers and feature them and their stations on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. (You know how we have lovingly hash tagged our Cubbon Park dogs, #Parkies and created a community around them!) Your High Ground police stations saved two dogs after a serious accident and both are now well, sleep at the gate or entrance and are taken care of by the staff. I was delighted to see them when I went for an open community meeting there with DCP Anuchet in July - please see his informal video link here! Sadashivnagar Station rescued three helpless pups that the neighboring bank was pushing out relocating and they are now plump and firm favorites of the community around as well as your police staff. And the Sadashivanagar residents relate so much warmly to their SHO and station! How heartwarming - and there are so many others - why can’t we showcase all the good things?

5. We would like to suggest a buddy system in every police station where the SHO or Asst Inspector can partner with a prominent animal lover in that area to help solve minor or major issues. Prevention is always better than cure. In my area, we are in close touch with Insp Rafiq at High Grounds Bangalore, and he has been helpful. We have 35 warm and supportive canine squads across the city, and they can partner beautifully.

6. Poster on basic animal welfare laws and rights can be put up in all police stations so that it is easier for the team there as well as concerned citizens to get matters resolved. For example, many ignorant citizens may come to complain regarding street dogs and ask for culling or relocation. By seeing the poster, they will understand that it is illegal, without wasting the poor policeman’s time and effort.

7. Monthly or quarterly meetings on animal welfare issues. We welcome the opportunity to appreciate good work done. In the recent heinous Lara murder case at Jayanagar, Insp Gowda & Mr. Harish Pandey stood strong and not backed down. Hats off. We need kinder police stations like Siddapura Station. On Diwali, many SHO’s implemented the firecracker ban as per Supreme Court guidelines. An Annual Compassionate Cop Award from us is a good idea.

Many more ideas can be discussed, but what we want is a partnership and collaboration, reducing your workload and pressure on AW issues by using citizen partners, while increasing outcomes. All the above would be a great start. Media is also showing a lot of interest as they know this issue can be addressed only when a firm, high integrity and compassionate police force stands strong with animal law & animal lovers, as in some evolved cities. Having waited patiently for 2 years, I look forward to the Police Commissioner’s thoughts and action items on this soonest.

Thanking You,

Yours Sincerely,

Priya Chetty-Rajagopal

Police Commissioner Video Transcript:

Priya: Mr Pant good afternoon and thank you for meeting me. We're delighted to have you know your thoughts as police commissioner on the issues of animal welfare and cruelty . We have discussed several points today on on you know on the position that the police in Bangalore wants to take on cruelty, and the kind of efforts that you would like to put in. So your thoughts on this, in terms of your stance would be very much appreciated.

Kamal Pant : First of all good afternoon to you and to all the pet lovers. We all are for the safety of the city of Bangalore and we are also equally committed to prevent cruelty against any animal and certainly bangalore city police is committed to support the pet lovers. And if there is any cruelty against any pet or any other animal we will be very very strict in this regard. We will do everything what has to be done under the ambit of the law. That much as my ASSURANCE to you.

Priya: Thank you so much we would also like to congratulate you Mr Pant, on the fact that in the Lara case, the police has been extremely supportive, very very strong in terms of following through on a very influential criminal. And re your point that you made earlier that you will take crimes against animals with the same sincerity and the focus as crimes again against humans.. so a quick comment on that? I have given you many suggestions in terms of the AWBI laws, allocation of somebody from the police administration for animal welfare, better representation in the SPCA etc. We would like very much to see your police stations who are so compassionate to animals to be better you know featured with pet lovers like us, having regular quarterly meetings etc. So you have been very very -what is a word for it- you've been very appreciative and accepting saying that you would certainly like to support us in that- and for that thank you! But your last few thoughts on this issue in terms of specific cruelty and problems that pet lovers or animal lovers face in in this area?

Kamal Pant: I will first speak about Siddapura case. About DCP Harish Pandey and Inspector Raju who has done very good work. Yes- they have immediately responded in this case -not only this case there are many other cases which have not been highlighted or resized or highlighted to this extent- they are also fully suspected very promptly and there were some disputes there were some issues that also have been resolved by Bangalore city police. Not only that, but during the time of pandemic also our officers have gone the extra mile to ensure that all these dogs they are not deprived of food they get their food on a regular basis. So this is what i would like to convey -that we are there to support the pets and if there is not only pets the animals also - and if there is any cruelty against them, we will take strict action absolutely. Priya: Thank you so much - so we are going to see posters up in all the stations, we're going to have a lot more interaction. Thank you so much Mr Pant for this assurance and your own tremendous impact as an animal lover yourself! So thank you and good afternoon...

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