Shimoga Police History

UNDER the ruling dynastic of yore, the police system was simple though vigorous. It was the duty of the headman of the village to secure the village against thieves and robbers. He exercised the authority of a police magistrate, with the assistance of the Talavar and co-operation of the villagers. There were Kavalgars in groups of villages, who did police duties. The town assemblies administered law and order and kept a watch on movement of suspicious persons coming into and leaving the towns. Treasons against the ruler or the State was considered a heinous offence for which punishment was execution. The police organization received considerable attention, and security administration was generally rigorous. The responsibility for safety of person and property was entrusted to the district officers who had to preserve peace and order. There were also spies who sent reports to higher authorities. The governors and Dandanayakas were responsible for maintenance of law and order in their areas. The Patnada Chavadi, which was the headquarters of the police at the metropolis and which supervised the work of the village watchmen also, under the Wodeyar rulers of Mysore, was continued under Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan also, with addition of a considerable number of spies to gather intelligence of every type. Later, under the administration of Dewan Purnaiya (1799-1811), the Amildar of each taluk was made the head of the police in his jurisdiction, and he disposed of all minor complaints. For protecting the life and property of the people, there were armed police officials called the Kandachar Police. In 1834, the British Commission promulgated a code under a special Hukumnama which regulated the day-to-day duties of the Kandachar Police. This force was meant exclusively for attending to police duties during normal times and to assist the defence forces during times of grave public disorders. The Amildar was assisted in his duties by a Killedar, Daffedars, Hoblidars and Shekdars. In 1844, a Superintendent of Police was appointed with powers him from the Killedars downwards. In 1873, the Deputy Commissioner was made the head of the police force in the district.

The direction of the police force in Mysore, after the rendition of the State in 1881, was at first in the hands of the Dewan, and the Deputy Commissioners of the districts. In 1885, an officer was designated as the Inspector-General of Police; he was also Inspector-General of Forests and Plantations and Director of Agriculture and Statistics. An Assistant Commissioner of Police was appointed for each district and he acted under the general supervision of the Deputy Commissioner. The Amildars and Deputy Amildars continued to be the heads of police in their jurisdictions and were assisted by Police Inspectors and Jamedars. At the end of 1891, the Police Department was again re-organised and an Inspector-General of Police was appointed as the full-time head of the Department and Assistant Commissioners of Police were graded as Superintendents and Assistant Superintendent of Police. The police force continued to consist of both the regular police, and the village police who were hereditary village servants. In 1901-02, the village police were provided with a uniform and lances. The District Police comprised the Taluk Police and District Reserve Force including the Armed Emergency Reserve, the former occupying the various station for doing ordinary police duties and the latter being attached to the District Police Office. In the latter part of the year 1908-09, a separate Criminal Investigation Department was organized. A separate Railway Police Force was also organized. Each village was made responsible for local protection. In 1913, when the Police Department was further re-organised, Jamedars were replaced by Sub-Inspectors.

After the new Mysore State was formed in 1956, in order of bring about uniformity in the police administration through out the State, the Mysore Police Act, 1963 (Mysore Act No.4 of 1964), was adopted and it came into force with effect from 2nd April 1965. The functions, powers and administrative set-up of the police are now governed by this Act.

Between 1959 and 1972, there were a few scuffles and consequent tensions between groups of two communities at Sagar, Shimoga , Ripponpet Nonabur, Basavani and Araga. Factions in Tyavanige, Kengalahalli (1959), Kulambi, Kathalagere and Goppenahalli village (1960) led to breaches of peace and rioting and the armed reserve police had to be rushed to the spots. There were also three cases of rioting during elections of local bodies at honnali, Hole-honnur and Goppenahalli. In 1966, a number of families from Kerala had illegally occupied Government lands in some villages of Shimoga and Thirthahalli taluks. The District Police carried out the eviction without giving room for any unhappy incidents. During the same year, some political parties offered Satyagraha on railway lines, picketed some post offices and observed bundhs to protest against the re-opening of the Belgaum issue.

In 1967, there were three stay-in strikes by sections of workers of the Mysore Iron and Steel Ltd. During the same year, the Life Insurance Corporation employees belonging to class III went on a strike at Shimoga as a protest against the introduction of auto-machines in the Corporation. There have been some incidents of students unrest in the district. During 1968, the student of Shimoga and Bhadravathi carried on an “anti-Hindi” agitation. In 1969, the students of Shimoga, workers of the Mysore Iron and Steel Ltd., Bhdravathi, and members of the Karnataka yuvaka Sangha, Bhadravathi, agitated for reduction of prices of eatables in hotels. In 1972 also, there was a protest demonstration by the college students of Shimoga against rise in prices of eatable in hotels, room rents and bus charges.

There was a call for ‘ Shimoga Bundh’ on 30th March 1970 to urge the Union Government for implementation of the Mahajan Commission’s recommendations of Karnataka-Maharashtra border dispute and also to protest against the alleged police excesses in Shimoga town and other places in the district. In the course of the ‘bundh’, a crowd pelted stones at the police. A case was registered and several persons were arrested. Prohibitory orders were promulgated by the District Magistrate in the Shimoga town for five days from 31st March 1970. Nevertheless, a procession was taken out in Shimoga, the next day, in protest against the arrests, and stones were pelted at the Doddapet Police Station and the Taluk Office resulting in injuries to some police personnel. As lathi charge and bursting of tear-gas shells proved ineffective, the police opened fire to disperse the crowd. In the firing, one person died and 31 were injured.

In 1971, as a result of a dispute between the Power Corporation, Jog, and its workers regarding the proposed retrenchment and re-employment, there was some altercation and unruly behaviour. Since warning and a lathi charge had no effect, the police officers on duty opened fire in the air and brought the situation under control. In 1972, as a sequel to a dispute between the workers and the management of the Mysore Iron and Steel Ltd., Bhadravathi, the Managing Director and the Joint General Manager were gheraoed. A lock-out was declared from 19th September 1972. A group of workers indulged in pelting stones and set fire to a police van and attempted to snatch away fire-arms from the possession of the District Armed Reserve policemen. As a result, the police opened fire in which one person was killed and another was injured. A prohibitory order under Section 144 of the Crimininal Procedure Code was also promulgated for some days.

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