A smiling, hospitable, helpful cop may be the norm in the countries adopting advanced policing methods. But in our own, it is a rarity. He stands out, is respected, recognised, and celebrated, much like the former IG, CID S. Umapathi, who received a warm post-retirement felicitation, from the representatives of civil society organisations here, on Wednesday.

He was described by activists and NGOs variedly as “our sleeper cell in the system”, “our champion in the department”, and “the only one in the police”. In a nutshell, Mr. Umapathi epitomised what the police department should have been.

“As activists, we always criticise the system. But if there is someone in it we appreciate, it is you,” Isidore Philips from Divya Disha said to him.

“He has been instrumental in developing systems for implementation of Domestic Violence Act, and in institutionalising humane attitude towards the victims of trafficking,” said K. Satyavathi from Bhumika Women’s Collective.

Special gesture

Offering lemon tea and fruit slices to the visitors too is a special kind of gesture coming from a cop, which the activists fondly remembered.

“In my 20 years of activism, this is the first instance when a police officer has been felicitated by NGOs.

Mr. Umapathi, accompanied by his wife with whom he will practise law post-retirement, stressed the importance of including RTC and Railways into the Anti-Trafficking loop. He lauded civil society organisations as indispensible in law enforcement.

“Civil society is akin to the pituitary gland in human body. Despite being small, it is the force behind the body metabolism. The police should network with them and have empathy towards the victims. Welfare of the people is the supreme law,” he said.