When the past catches up, yes, for doing good

K. JAVEED NAYEEM writes: The brutal murder of one of the most familiar former police officers of our City, K. S. Thammaiah, is most shocking. Although he had served in various places other than Mysore, I think he had his longest innings here and, therefore, he was most easily identified as Mysore’s special cop.

He was known to almost all Mysoreans and although I knew him personally over the past 25 years, there is almost nothing more I can say about him which all of us do not already know.

There are some rare people in all walks of life and in all professions who believe in doing their duty and a little more. He was one such man. Apart from being a very honest and upright police officer, he was one committed man who believed in ensuring that as long as he was around, ordinary peace-loving citizens like you and me should safely go about doing our daily jobs by day and sleep peacefully at night.

He was no philosopher but he had put all his faith in the simple belief that in a civilised society all citizens should respect the law and anyone who refused to believe in this truth should be brought to book.

His role along with that of his two colleagues, Dharmesh and Puttaswamy Gowda while they served on the anti- rowdy squad in putting an end to the then prevailing “Rowdy Raj” was most note-worthy. One hallmark about him was that he was most approachable by anyone in trouble and he would promptly look into the merits of every complaint, big or small, brought before him, following it up with prompt action.

While it is said that the past catches up with wrong-doers sooner or later, this man’s past seems to have caught up with him for doing good.

While the circumstances and the reasons that led to his tragic and certainly very untimely death are best left to be looked into by the investigating officers, what pains and even frustrates me is that such an able man who had once faced and handled furious mobs did not have the means to protect himself when he was attacked by just a handful of goons.

Why did he not have a personal weapon to defend himself? Since he was serving on the vigilance commission of the KPTCL, was he not eligible for a service revolver or an armed bodyguard?

Or, was he too, like most of us law-abiding citizens “disarmed” by the misplaced dikat of the present-day Election Commission and thus prevented from carrying a weapon?

Whatever the reason and although this too seems like one of the many cases of crying over spilt milk, I think our governments should have a correct perception of the potential risk that some high-profile police officers may face even after their retirement and provide them with some means of self protection.

There should be some provision in their service rules to ensure their safety lifelong. We cannot simply forget a middle-order policeman once he hangs up his uniform after retirement, especially when he has spent his best years protecting us.

(K. Javeed Nayeem is a practising physician who writes a weekly column in Star of Mysore, where a longer version of this piece originally appeared.)