How do you feel about holding the additional responsibility in your role as the ADGP operations of Chennai?
Additional DG operations post is one of the specialised jobs because we take care of important operations involving sensational cases whenever the need arises but ideally, the need should never arise. We also train the TN disaster and rescue force and we also train a number of other state police officers all over the districts on various specialised operations like counter terrorism, bomb deduction disposal, and disaster management. We also take care of commando school operations. There is an NSG hub in Chennai and we assist them to conduct drills. To check our preparedness, we also train emergency situations like flight hijacks, terrorist attacks like the Mumbai Taj attack, so we keep doing similar practices and it is a specialised small unit but highly skilled force and that’s the nature of the job.

What are your responsibilities as the director of the police academy of Tamil Nadu?
After completing college, the cadets join the academy. The transformation that we make in a person from a student to an officer is what we do at the academy. Policing is an interesting job and there are many opportunities to excel in various fields which includes sports, cybercrime, investigation, firing and we want many capable youngsters who are passionate to join as an officer.

TN police academy is 140 acres of land situated in Oonamanchery near Vandalur. It was opened in 2008 on the lines of the National Police Academy which is functioning in Hyderabad, where IPS officers get trained,in order to give an organised way of training to subordinate officers like DSP and SI. We give all sorts of training required for an officer, which includes law, physical fitness, and other skills for a police officer to function. It’s an institution where in-house training will be given for 52 weeks and after the training, they pass out as police officers.

How should one prepare during the police training period – both mentally and physically?
It’s full-time training from morning till night where all sorts of skills are taught. We have TN special task force in Sathyamangalam, the unit which nabbed Veerappan. We send our cadets to go to jungle warfare training to learn how to survive in a jungle and there are different types of training given through professionals. The training is quite exhausting,so gradually we increase the tempo, for example in the early days of training they run up to 100-500meters but once they complete the training, they can run for the marathon. It’s an interesting training and after the training, the cadets become capable officers.

What inspired the idea for your book? How long did it take you to write this book?
Being in the police forces, we come across many different situations, challenges and problems every day in and out and we try to solve them. I thought writing a book will help us to share the information that we get over the period of time and communicate the skills we developed. The ‘Porada Katrukkol’ (Learn to Fight) book was written on the fighting spirit that one should have. Sometimes as police officers in some situations we know we are losing the battle but still, we fight, and not everybody wins every time but they should have the idea to fight and win. This book was written for cadets in particular to learn the skills that are required to fight the battles of life and come successful. I have also added incidents that inspired me to fight life battles. I hope readers find it interesting!

How did you come up with the title for this book?
Every day in life is a battle. Whether you want to succeed in life, studies, work and within yourself, it’s a fight. Many times, the person who wins is not the strongest. In a forest the fastest animal is the cheetah, the strongest is the elephant, the tallest is the giraffe but the king is the Lion, but the lion is not the fastest, strongest, or the tallest. The book is divided into four chapters on how to win any life battle, learn yourself, understand the world, understand others and then fight. Suppose if you don’t know who you’re fighting with, then you may end up in a failure.

Coming back to ‘Siragugal Virithudu’ book we humans don’t have wings physically, but our minds can fly and nobody can stop that. Allow your mind to fly and think beyond. An ideal situation may not arise but that doesn’t stop you from expecting the things and you can aspire for the best. I think this book will help people in many ways. I have written 100 stories and Tamil poems.While travelling, this book could be your best companion.

What’s the unknown side of Amalraj that many don’t know of? What are the other passions that you pursue alongside your busy schedule?
There are many things about myself even I don’t know. I did schooling and college in English medium, but I decided to write the book in Tamil to know where I stand with the language.Till then I was not aware that I can write Tamil so well.Many of my friends finds it interesting. During my college days, I was a hockey player. Now I’m interested in police firing and I have won medals in state-level shooting championships. We learn and evolve every day.

What are the challenges you have faced in your role and how did you overcome them?
There are many incidents that happen in policing and every day is a challenge. In my early days when I was a commissioner of a few cities and the main challenge was fighting with an unknown enemy many times. For example, there is a burglary in a house and we don’t know who has done it. The challenge is how to find the burglar and finally, when you find him you get a lot of satisfaction, infact as much satisfaction as the victims do.

When I was working as DIG in Trichy during 2011 there was a series of dacoity in different parts of the state forthree years. When we researched all the victims were rice mill owners and their houses were targeted. When we put up a chart and traced that something connected to the moment of rice. So, we traced vehicles flying at a particular time to bring or take away rice. Most of the lorries bringing rice were coming from Bangalore.These fellows had come from Bangalore to commit robbery and then were going back. They were doing this after abreak of three to four months. So that way we found the origin of the crime. They were a gang of dacoity from Uthangarai. It took us about two years to find the criminals.

Tell us a few words about the Tamil Nadu museum
We have made a police museum which was inaugurated by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister in Egmore where the Madras commissioner office functioned. I would request the readers to visit the police museum as it is one of its kind. The building was purchased by the first police commissioner Col. J.C. Boulderson in 1856. The city police commissioner was working in this building till 2013 and then a new building in Vepary was constructed and the commissioner’s office was shifted there. The building at Egmore was calling for a lot of repairs and we took away almost 60-70 lorry loads of debris from the building and the original building has been redone.

We also have one more museum in Coimbatore city and it’s an old British time building purchased by then superintendent of police F.A. Hamilton in 1918 for police welfare society. It was called the Police Club. After Hamilton left, it was named ‘Hamilton Police Club’. During 2016 and 2017, it was converted and made as the Police Museum Coimbatore and is open for public. We have featured tanks from the Indian army, missiles from the Indian navy, trainer aircraft from the Indian air force, torpedo, boats from the Tamil Nadu marine police force, and many other interesting weapons. The catch of weapons seized from the Sandalwood Smuggler Veerappan when he was killed can be seen here.

– By Vinitha Venkatesha