The unit's uniform has been created by designer Manish Malhotra. (Photo: Twitter/Mumbai police)
This Republic Day, 11 policemen mounted atop horses will be seen patrolling the streets of Mumbai. The city’s unit of mounted policemen is making a comeback, 88 years after they were disbanded in 1932 by the then Commissioner of Police, Patrick Kelly.
Kelly had then thought motorised transport had rendered a horseback unit unnecessary.
Regal in stature, Formidable in form, the "Mounted Police Unit" returns to Mumbai Police.
Thank you @ManishMalhotra for designing such an elegant uniform for our Riders.
Our Mounted Unit is sure to make a strong impact during law and order situations. pic.twitter.com/S0T6bcvdR9
— Mumbai Police (@MumbaiPolice) January 19, 2020
Thirteen horses have undergone training for the past four months to get used to crowded places and noise, to aid policemen on crowded stretches of Mumbai’s beaches and promenades. According to state home minister Anil Deshmukh, the mounted policemen will be effective in patrolling during protests, as they will be able to scan crowds better.
The 13 horses include seven thoroughbreds and six Marwaris. Another 19 are expected to be procured by next year, to maintain a fleet of 32 horses.
Mounted police units in the rest of the country
Police forces in Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata have mounted units.
The Kolkata Mounted Police was first introduced in 1840, with two sowars under a dafadar (head officer), according to the Kolkata police website. In 1842, the unit began patrolling the Maidan area. After 1905, European constables were inducted in the unit. Currently, the unit regulates crowds on the Maidan during sporting events and fairs, and participates in ceremonial parades at the Raj Bhavan during VIP visits.
According to state home minister Anil Deshmukh, the mounted policemen will be effective in patrolling during protests, as they will be able to scan crowds better. (Photo: Twitter/Mumbai police)
Karnataka has an Armed Reserve Mounted Police (KARPF), that is a part of its State Reserve Police Force (KSRPF) headquartered in Mysuru. According to the Mysuru city police website, its mounted unit was formed in 1952 by the erstwhile princely ruler Krishnaraja Wodeyar. The units are used for traffic regulation and patrolling during the Dasara festival.
Kerala’s mounted police unit was started in 1880, by the Maharaja of Travancore in the Body Guard Square at Palayam, as per the Kerala Police website. After the building of the assembly complex at Palayam, the unit was shifted to its present premises at Thycaud.
According to the Hyderabad Police website, the City Armed Reserve Police has a mounted unit. The unit was formed during the Nizam era, as per a PTI report.
Uttarakhand’s mounted unit came in the news in 2016 when Ganesh Joshi, a BJP MLA, allegedly attacked a police horse’s leg with a baton, critically injuring the animal. ‘Shaktiman’, the white-coloured Kathiawari horse, later succumbed to its injuries, sparking outrage.