Andhra Pradesh

Vizag police system completes 160 years today

Walking down memory lane: The armoury at Police Barracks in Visakhapatnam that was used by the Imperial Police during its action against Alluri Sitaramaraju.   | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak

On January 28, 1861, exactly 160 years ago, the first police system was started in Visakhapatnam district, then known as Vizagapatam.

The Government of Madras, by an Act XXIV of 1859, which was enacted on September 6, 1859, brought a police system in Madras Presidency, which was the foundation for the present police system. And what we see today in the district or in the city, is an implementation of that Act in 1861.

At that time the presidency had about 21 revenue administrative districts and they were grouped under five police ranges such as Northern range, Western, Ceded Districts, Central, and Southern. Each range was headed by a Deputy Inspector General of Police and each of the districts by a Superintendent of Police. All them were then employees of the Imperial Police and the letters IP was inscribed on their shoulder tags.

Vizagapatam was part of the Northern Range and Waltair was its headquarters, which was headed by a DIG rank officer.

The four districts of Ganjam, Vizagapatam, Godavari (consisting of most parts of both East and West Godavari districts of the present day) and Krishna (consisting most parts of both Krishna and Guntur districts of the present day) were brought under Northern Range in 1861.

The first DIG of Northern Range was Captain Tennant, and Superintendent of Police for Vizagapatnam was Lieutenant Stuart. Both were drafted from the British Army, said V. Edward Paul, chronicler of history of Visakhapatnam.

According to him, many, including the ones in the police force, may not know about the exact formation of police system in the district, but all documents pertaining to them can be found in the archives in Chennai and in the British library in London.

At that time the Vizagapatam district was the largest district in the whole of Madras Presidency, extending up to Rayagada in north and it included most part of Jeypore Zamindari. The Jeypore Zamindari area came under Vizagapatam District Police in January 1863 with the appointment of Captain Galbraith, as Assistant Superintendent of Police, said Mr. Paul. With the formation of Orissa State in 1936, the areas falling under Vizagapatam was carved out into Orissa State.

The Visakhapatnam Revenue District was bifurcated into two police districts as Visakhapatnam North and Visakhapatnam South in 1946. After Independence, the two police districts of Visakhapatnam North and South were reorganised with the formation of Vizianagaram district in 1979, with the Viskhapatnam North going into Vizianagaram District.

Thereafter, whole of the revenue district of Visakhapatnam formed into one police district. This again was bifurcated in 1983 into Visakhapatnam Urban and Visakhapatnam Rural. Out of the Visakhapatnam urban district, the Visakhapatnam Metropolitan area was carved into the Police Commissionerate in 1989.

Campaign against Alluri

Vizagapatnam District Police played a key role in the subduing the Rampa Rebellion led by Alluri Sitarama Raju from 1922 to 1924.

Unable to rein in Alluri’s forces and guerilla tactics, the British deployed the Special Malabar Police, a paramilitary force that had the track record of quashing the Moplah rebellion in Kerala, under one Rutherford, who was appointed as the Special Commissioner.

It was from here that Rutherford led the forces and the armoury then used to store weapons can still be seen at Police Barracks.

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Printable version | Mar 1, 2021 9:30:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/vizag-police-system-completes-160-years-today/article33679721.ece

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