SN Srivastava, Delhi's Next Police Chief, May Have to go All-Out to Bring Back Peace to the Capital

CNN-News18

New Delhi: Former head of the anti-terror wing of Delhi Police and the officer who was Special DG of CRPF, Jammu & Kashmir during the take-no-prisoners Operation All-Out, Sachidanand Srivastava is all set to be the next top cop of the city. The 1985-batch AGMUT-cadre officer has been brought in as the Special Commissioner of Police in charge of Law & Order and is expected to become the Commissioner of Police in March. He is likely to continue till June 30, 2021.

The move comes at a time when the incumbent Amulya Patnaik is facing yet another crisis just four days to his retirement. Delhi is witnessing one of the biggest communal conflagrations in decades and the city’s police force is being blamed for inaction. The pressure is mounting on the cops as videos showing violent mobs going on rampage, with police often looking the other way, continue to pour in.

For SN Srivastava to succeed he will have to dig into his experience in the early days of his career when he was posted as the Deputy Commissioner of Police in the communally sensitive Central Delhi. Srivastava, then a young IPS officer, is said to have introduced the concept of ‘Aman Committee’ meetings in the district and got the community elders to defuse the volatile situations.

Today, as Delhi burns, that is the healing touch that the city can do with. The IIT Kharagpur alumni was also the Joint Commissioner of Traffic, where he had introduced the concept of traffic cones on Delhi roads.

But his moment of reckoning came when he became one of the most successful special commissioners of the elite and controversial Special Cell of Delhi Police. While at the helm, he was instrumental in breaking the back of Indian Mujahideen, the homegrown, Pakistan-supported terror network, which was behind a number of attacks across the country in the first decade of the twenty-first century . Then came the high profile IPL spot-fixing case, yet another investigation which made headlines across the country.

But his stint as the head of the Special Cell was not without any controversy. The arrest of Liyaqat Ali Shah, a former terrorist who was allegedly coming to surrender, caught them on the wrong foot. The investigation of the case was handed over to the NIA and enquiry into the arrest was ordered. But many in the intelligence establishment claimed the fiasco was yet another example of inter-departmental rivalry.

After Delhi Police, his next port of call was as Additional Director General, Western Zone of CRPF, where he was in charge of the Jammu & Kashmir operations. This was a tumultuous time in the Valley. The Burhan Wani encounter took place and CRPF was tasked with maintaining law and order across Kashmir.

It was during his tenure in 2017 that Operation All-Out was launched where the Indian Army, CRPF, BSF, Jammu & Kashmir Police and Intelligence Bureau made a coordinated drive to flush out the terrorists from the Valley. The operation got significant success in the region and it was instrumental in eradicating the top leadership of Hizbul Mujahideen.

A stickler for rules and known for his no-nonsense attitude, Special CP Srivastava was a fast bowler fond of throwing down bouncers in his college days. But as he takes fresh guard at the helm of Delhi Police, he will need to bring out that all-rounder inside him to succeed.