Bhaskar Rao IPS
Bhaskar Rao IPS

On Saturday, the Bengaluru City Police's Commissioner Bhaskar Rao, IPS, sat down for a long chat with Kannadigas in various parts of the world. The live chat was meant to be a way for Kannadigas abroad to connect with their homeland and see how the administration functions.

In the conversation, the Kannadiga NRI community were given the rare opportunity to put forward questions and ideas for the Bengaluru Police department. During the conversation, a proposal for an NRI cell came up and the Commissioner said he would give it importance.

Bhaskar Rao's chat with overseas Kannadigas

The Saagarottara Kannadigaru group held a live chat on Facebook on Saturday with the Bengaluru Police, in attendance were many Kannadigas residing in different parts of the world. The chat was attended by Commissioner of Police Bhaskar Rao, IPS, who spoke to many of the NRI settled abroad.

The long three-hour chat was meant to address questions and concerns regarding the Bengaluru Police and its functioning. The event attended by many, helped shed light on the processes of the police department, including where they are headed in the scheme of things.

Featuring Kannadigas from different parts of Karnataka settled in the UK, Europe, Australia, the Middle East and other parts of the world, they put forward opinions appreciating the efforts during the pandemic by the department. Bhaskar Rao, IPS, had spoken about the multicultural nature and population of 1.45 crores approximately in the city as both its strength and a challenge for the police to manage.

Starting off the discussion he spoke about the need for openness in the police department and an atmosphere to allow people to speak. He spoke about COVID-19's impact on the department as well as affecting 863 in the police force. All those with co-morbidities were given a Work From Home option which lost them 1500 people in the active workforce with nearly 2500 not on duty. That's why the volunteers were asked join on enforcing wearing masks, social distancing and police station documentation, help desk and night rounds.

Bhaskar Rao during the NRI discussion

Points that the police department is working on

On anti-terrorism, the officer said, "We have to build a very robust anti-terror system also. We do have one, I may not be able to go into a lot of detail. We also have to show you how strong our anti-terror system, because even small events can bring us a bad name." He said that the anti-terror cell should be made visible as a watchdog. He did speak about the porous borders as allowing many illegal immigrants into Bengaluru as it happens to be a hub.

Further, into the conversation, a resident of the UK originally from Bengaluru asked about how people in other countries can file complaints where people abroad can't file complaints. He asked for a roadmap to which Commissioner Bhaskar Rao said, "That's an excellent idea. In this regard, we were routinely receiving complaints from everyone including NRIs. Now I'll go back and consult my Director-General of Police and Home Minister and given the number of problems which NRIs would like to bring to our notice especially family-related or land-related or property-related I will try to see if I can start an NRI cell in the Bengaluru City Police."

"I'll try and we'll make it a dedicated part as our city police intelligence. Intelligence is the one that handles all NRI Matters." He said he'll speak to Deputy Commissioner Ashwini to come out with modalities and in the Vikas Soudha he'll consult the NRI cell there, he added, "Definitely, the welfare of the Karnataka NRIs is our priority."

Bhaskar Rao during FB live chat with NRIs

He also spoke about criminal rehabilitation and repeat crimes in the city, calling it 'lacunae' in the department. Speaking about the mental health of the Police department, he said, "For both the bad mental health and bad physical health of our subordinates, only we are responsible, the senior officers."

He said it was because they create the stress, and set unnecessarily high expectations, blaming them for their decisions and for overworking them. The commissioner said the time for fitness needs to be given and not keep them away from home longer and to allow them to spend time with their families.

Through the conversation, he urged that things will change for the better. He also spoke about strengthening the drug-trafficking in the Middle East in response to an NRI's query, "Where drugs is concerned, we will try to step up more. If anybody is carrying drugs, that is one thing which we were not doing. When going outside we'd look at visa documents, we'll try to see, in the case of drugs our minister Basvaraj Bommai, has propagated zero-tolerance to drugs, it's a good suggestion and we'll try to step up towards outgoing drug-trafficking."

He said that the police department is in talks with Google as well to see how AI and nanotechnology will lead to future crimes, "We want to train our police early about nano, robotics, AI and virtual reality related crimes."

The discussion shed light on many aspects of the police department and perhaps the future of the department and in a way the city of Bengaluru. Bhaskar Rao is currently under home quarantine following his driver testing positive for COVID-19.